Speech pathologist at school set to close worried about transition of students

Rivera Elementary School

The possible closures of 10 elementary schools like Carlos Rivera Elementary is hitting home for teachers like Sherri Reiter.

"I was ready to vomit,” Reiter said. “We were all blindsided."

Reiter has been speech pathologist at Rivera for 30 years. She says she and fellow teachers feel their jobs aren't safe even after the district has said no jobs will be lost.

"Other schools already have their cafeteria workers,” Reiter said. “They have their custodial staff. I think they're counting on people retiring and I don't believe it."

CBS4 requested an interview with EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera about the possible closure issue. The district told us Cabrera was in meetings all day to discuss the budget.

It said EPISD human resources will place employees in other positions in schools the district didn’t close.

But, Reiter says she's also worried for the students with special needs she teaches.

"You can’t keep moving those children. You can't do that. They don't take change. It's detrimental to their learning,” Reiter said. “But, more importantly, it's detrimental to their mental well-being."

Rivera is slated to be closed at end of the 2019-2020 school year. Reiter says she and other teachers are going to do whatever they can to save the school.

"We're looking for ways to bring families into our neighborhood. We're brainstorming,” Reiter said. “Mr. Cabrera said, 'If you can find families to move into the neighborhoods, do it.' We're going to hit the pavement."

The district also said the special education department will help families of students with special needs during the transition process.

It said it's confident it can make the transition a successful one.

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