Edinburg schools Superintendent Gilbert Garza offers what may be in store for the District’s next century.
In an exclusive interview with the Edinburg Review, Garza said massive growth, including a student population that could expand as much as 330 percent, and maybe a future United States president all await Edinburg Schools next 100 years.
Garza predicts that in 100 years the student population in the district will be 100,000 strong, making ECISD the largest in the Valley if not the state. There are currently more than 30,000 students attending Edinburg schools.
The district could one day find itself comprised of several sub-districts simply due to its projected growth, Garza said.
“In another 100 years, the district will definitely be the largest if not in the state then definitely in the Valley,” he said. “I think we are second to Brownsville right now, but 100 years from now we are going to be serving, I would say over 100,000 students. We would probably have more than one ISD in Edinburg, we might one day be so big we might have to divide into several of them in Edinburg accommodating the students in the district.”
Edinburg Schools officially kicked off its centennial celebration on Monday morning. The district will commemorate its first 100 years beginning in the upcoming 2009 to 2010 school year.
The celebration titled “Edinburg CISD: A Legacy of Learning - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” will culminate with a parade Jan. 25, 2010, which would be the 100th day of school in the 100th year at ECISD. The District turned 100 on Saturday May 9, 2009.
“We have created many leaders, not only in the city and the county and the state and the nation but all over the world here in our school system. We look forward to someday having our first (United States) president coming from ECISD,” Garza said.
The Edinburg school district was born after the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court voted to create Chapin Common School District No. 10 which spanned over 150,897 acres of land.
The first two-room, wood-frame free public school building in Edinburg was built in the summer of 1909, just in time to open up for the very first school year in 1909-1910. It was created where Sacred Heart Church now stands.
The district’s first teachers, Mrs. Nellie Schunior and Mrs. Walter Monroe, taught at a time when student enrollment was just 30 students. Many students rode horseback through cactus and brush to attend, and according to the district a common excuse for being late was “a train was on the track.”
On April 3, 1919, the 36th Texas Legislature approved HB 603, that officially created the initial Edinburg Independent School District (EISD). It wasn’t until May 20, 1926 that what was then known as Common School Districts No. 7 and 8 were consolidated to form what is now called ECISD.
The first Board of Trustees for the former EISD met and was organized on April 24, 1919 in which A.Y. Baker; F.B. Vela; A.J. Sappenfield; and C.J. McCurdy were elected.
The first superintendent of the newly created Edinburg Independent School District was W.E. Foster and his annual salary was $2,500 and the salary of the Edinburg High School principal was $1,500.
“This district has brought a life long commitment to public education, as far as I’m concerned it’s the best district in the state if not the nation,” Garza said. “The people of Edinburg have given the district so much support because they want what’s best for their children.
“My wish, and I know it will continue, is that this district will continue to shine by having the community to continue to support the district by working closely together to bring forth the best possible education for the future of Edinburg.”
Garza announced his retirement as superintendent of Edinburg Schools in April. He will officially step down in June, and as of Monday, May 11, the district has not confirmed a successor. Garza is a life long educator with more than 30 years of experience in the district.
“I’m honored to have been superintendent at the end of the 100th year of this District being in operation,” he said. “I know the new superintendent, he or she whomever it might be, will continue forth through one year of activities to showcase how well our students are doing in Edinburg.”