South Texas school district closed over water bill dispute

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, January 16, 2014

The school district in La Villa, Texas, has closed all its schools, leaving students unsure of when they’ll be back in the classroom – all over a disputed water bill.

Soon after students went on winter vacation in late December, La Villa shut off water and sewer services to the local schools, arguing that the district needs to pay off its remaining balance. The district, however, has refused to pay the increased rate the city wants because it believes the surcharge to be unfair.

The clash began over a year ago, when La Villa tried to raise the surcharge on the school to $10 a student, on top of the typical water rates. After negotiations whittled that number down to $6 in November 2012, the city made a surprise move the next month to raise the surcharge to $14.

Despite the increase, the school district has continued paying the previously agreed upon surcharge of $6 a head, a move that ultimately resulted in the city shutting down water services.

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