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San Benito C.I.S.D. fighting to stop Brownsville I.S.D. from annexing property

San Benito C.I.S.D. boundary maps (Source: San Benito C.I.S.D.)

San Benito C.I.S.D. is fighting to stop Brownsville I.S.D. from annexing a portion of their territory.

Some people living in that area feel uneasy they might have to pay property taxes for Brownsville schools.

“Honestly, that would be an inconvenience for us,” said Tomasita Flores, a San Benito resident who lives in a portion of San Benito C.I.S.D.’s territory that the Brownsville I.S.D. wants to annex.

San Benito’s CISD’s boundary maps highlight several colonias off of Narcisco Martínez Highway that could be impacted.

"Over 20 percent of our students would be impacted by that," said Nate Carmen, San Benito C.I.S.D.’s Superintendent.

The school district says nearly 2,500 students would leave the district if lawmakers, like State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr., agree with Brownsville I.S.D.’s annexation plans.

Residents like Flores wonder if these changes will impact how much she'll have to pay in property taxes.

Carmen is still waiting to hear back from the Cameron County Appraisal District to learn exactly how much property taxes the school district will lose if the annexation were to happen.

Carmen said the San Benito school district is using lobbyists to let lawmakers in Austin know they don't want portions of their district cut away. He says Brownsville I.S.D. is overwriting the Texas Education Code by trying to annex a portion of a school district that isn’t being controlled by the Texas Education Agency because of financial or performance issues.

In December 2018, Brownsville ISD proposed lawmakers in Austin to allow them to annex portions of close-by school districts like Los Fresnos CISD, Point Isabel ISD and San Benito CISD.

Brownsville ISD Board of Trustee Phillip Cowen told CBS 4 in December that the district was concerned about Los Fresnos CISD’s lacking development within its boundaries.

“If Los Fresnos doesn’t step up to the plate and start building schools in that neighborhood then we’ll essentially have a small school system composed of charters in that area,” Cowen said in December.

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