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A Students at Edgewood’s Coronado-Escobar Elementary School must operate the same number of schools, run the same number of buses, maintain a central office staff, perpetuate the special-needs programs students require, and also provide services for some students who spend most of each day at private school. Moreover, because school funds are allocated based upon the previous year’s attendance, even if every student currently accepting a voucher were to return to Edgewood next year, the district still would be funded for 1999-2000 based on the number of students enrolled right now. The expected shortfall is already evident, as the district has tried to prepare for the loss. Rodriguez admitted to feeling pinched in her supply budget this year. But Hoelscher Elementary principal Virginia Kinney insists that the funding crunch will not lead to fewer educational options for students: “I can’t ever see us consolidating programs, because those have a direct impact on our students.” She added that Edgewood would go without new roofs or reduce staff before cutting back on student-centered expenditures. The funding loss will come at a crucial moment: immediately after the district finally acquired sufficient money to enhance and expand its educational programs. Edgewood recently opened magnet programs in math and science, and fine arts, and established advanced placement programs in its high schools. The new programs, combined with Edgewood’s significant improvement in T.A.A.S. scores and dramatic lowering of the drop-out rate, earned recognition from the National Education Association last year. In the past five years, Edgewood has gone from having nine of its twenty-six schools declared “low performing” by the Texas Education Agency, to having no low-performing schools and three campuses E.R.N. Reed recognized for student performance. Faced with dramatic state funding cuts, the district will be hard pressed to sustain that progress. hether or not the schools can continue to improve with sig nificantly less state funding is only one of the district’s structural problems. Edgewood, west of downtown San Antonio, is a relatively small district; Kelly Air Force Base occupies more than a third of its area. Edgewood’s population is more than 95 percent minority, and the annual per capita income is just over $5,000. Local property tax revenues are so low that more than 89 percent of the district’s per student funding comes from state and federal funds. \(In stark contrast, San Antonio’s wealthiest district, Alamo Heights I.S.D., receives less than 3 percent of its funding from state and federal sources, and can still afford to send over $1,300 per stuclosure of the air base is not likely to improve the situation. Even with the base operating, E.I.S.D. is the largest area employer. So the expected cutbacks will inevitably mean lost jobs mostly in secretarial, custodial, food service, and other non-teacher positions for students’ families. This is what Rodriguez means when she insists, “There are a lot of implications. This isn’t just about students going to private schools; it’s affecting a wide spectrum of the community.” Given that the second largest employer in E.I.S.D. is the H.E.B. grocery chain, the loss of those jobs can only exacerbate the cycle of poverty in Edgewood. Edgewood’s poverty is very much an issue in the “scholarship” MARCH 5, 1999 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9