Parents upset after La Porte ISD plans to cut dual language program

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La Porte ISD phases out Dual Language Immersion program (KTRK)

Parents in La Porte Independent School District want leaders to reconsider cutting the dual language program at Leo A. Rizzuto Elementary School.

Students are immersed in both English and Spanish speaking lessons throughout the day. La Porte ISD said the move is a cost cutting measure to help with a budget deficit.

La Porte ISD told Eyewitness News that the program has been a part of the school's curriculum for the past 20 years.

Officials say that the 225 students currently enrolled in the elementary school will be able to finish the program.

"I think our parents have every right to be upset, but what I would like everyone to know is that there's not a member of our board of trustees or a member of this administration that wants to make this decision," said superintendent Graham. "They're speaking to sympathetic ears. They're speaking to sympathetic ears who are having local control removed by the state funding system."

Graham told Eyewitness News that the school will not accept new kindergartners into their program as they begin the phasing process over the next five years. The superintendent said La Porte ISD anticipated about a $5 million budget deficit.

The dual language program costs about $450,000 a year because it is not required by the state, and is considered an enrichment program.

A first grader at the elementary school, Kathleen Rebecek, told her mother Krista Rebecek that she loved the program. Rebecek expressed to Eyewitness News that she wanted her other younger children to get the chance to enroll in the school.

Rebecek said the dual language program allows kids to become bilingual, which can be valuable when they become adults.

"I think it would be easier for her to get a job," said Rebecek. "I worked in a hospital before and we always had to call in translators. If we had patients who spoke other languages, it took us longer to give them better care. If more people spoke multiple languages, you'd cut out the middle man."

Shelby Matczak also has a child in the program at Rizzuto Elementary School. Her 6-year-old daughter Mailia will be among the last class if the cuts go through as planned. Matczak told Eyewitness News that the program first started when her daughter was in the third grade.

"We bought our house in our hometown hoping the program would be here for both of our kids," said Matczak. "The amount of money that they are saving doesn't seem to justify robbing the entire community of this opportunity."

Rebecek and Matczak said they plan to attend the La Porte ISD meeting Tuesday night to express their concerns.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the LPISD Administration Building located at 1002 San Jacinto Street in La Porte, Texas.
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educationstudentsschool closingsLa Porte
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