SAN ANTONIO — Mimi Gonzales hasn’t backed down from a mission to keep her child’s school from changing. She’s advocating for the San Antonio ISD school Beacon Hill Academy to not merge with Cotton Academy, a neighboring campus located a mile away. The merger is a part of SAISD’s proposed plan to close 19 schools in the next two years. 

“Why are we not just creating a middle school? My oldest, he has been here for nine years and he’s very attached to this school,” Gonzales said.

Generations of Gonzales’ family attended Beacon Hill. The merger isn’t all about tradition for Gonzales. It’s about the obstacles families will face, like siblings getting split between two campuses. With the merger, Beacon Hill would have pre-kindergarten through second grade and Cotton would house third through eighth grade. 

“I have a second grader and a third grader, so does that mean I have to drive to two campuses?” a concerned mother asked during the meeting.

Beacon Hill Principal Felismina Martinez says she is well aware of the concerns.

“Kids have already been talking to us: ‘Ms. Martinez, we are hearing things. What can you tell us about the merger and how does this exactly work?'” Martinez said to the families during the meeting.

She says the students fear not being around familiar faces. The principal, though, worries resources will be spread thin, so she’s working to make sure teachers and students are paired together if the merger gets voted on Nov. 13. 

“Dyslexia is here a little bit less. My special ed is bursting at the seams, but we don’t have additional allocations because we are a small campus,” Martinez said. “They just cut a theater teacher last year, and I had to fight to get it back this year.”

Martinez says this merger would provide the necessary resources for the schools.

“The superintendent talk about both campuses will have an associate principal and maybe even assistant principals. I’m like, ‘Man, you know what I could do with additional help?’” Martinez said with a smile.  

Gonzales says she’s going to attend more meetings to get more answers about Beacon Hill, a school she says constantly fights for.

“All of these different things for changes, and changes and changes and we are still being thrown around, and it’s not fun,” Gonzales said. “I don’t like it.”