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Our History

The Lone Star School

El Paso County was in charge of schools when the first school building was constructed in Canutillo in 1911. The school was named, The Lone Star School. Its school boundaries extended from White Spur (now in West El Paso) to La Tuna, Texas, and from the New Mexico boundary line to the Franklin Mountains - making the district about thirteen miles long and six miles wide.

Nineteen hundred and eleven was a very promising year for Canutillo for many places of business opened. Among these was the first general merchandise store owned by W.H. Glenn, J.B. Kilpatrick, P.H.Bailey, and Harry Bailey. The Santa Fe Railroad station was also built in 1911, and of course, this boosted the town, for up to this time it had been only a flag station. In 1911, Fernando Carrasco, owner of the Julimes Teatro, started a grocery store and barber shop. Two years later, James Heminger started the first blacksmith shop, J.R.Montfort opened a harness shop, and the Canutillo Lumber Co. was opened by Thomas B. Atkins. Canutillo was growing and so was its school.

By the 1920's, the school building was enlarged to ten rooms, seven classrooms, a lunchroom, and two lavatories with shower baths. For the 1923-24 school year, the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades were added and total enrollment was 350 students. Canutillo students interested in continuing their education after eighth grade had to travel almost 15 miles to attend El Paso High School. This continued through the 1950's.

Canutillo ISD Officially Opens

On April 18, 1959, Canutillo Independent School District was officially in operation. From that time on, much was needed to be done to get this fledgling school district on its feet. Work began immediately on prioritizing the new school district’s needs. A Board of Trustees had to be voted into office, a superintendent had to be hired, a tax collections office had to be set up, plans for the construction of school facilities to include a high school needed to be developed, among other important issues.

Canutillo ISD’s first Board of Trustees members were: Robert Gilbert, who was elected president; Ruth Blount, T.J. Warren, Kenneth Bouma, Louise Seymour, Radford C. Pinckard, and Gonzalo (Chalo) Garcia. After the first year, Bouma stepped down and E. W. (Gene) Chandler was appointed.

Hired as CISD’s first superintendent was Joseph MacDougall, who had been the principal of Canutillo’s elementary school since 1957 under the county school district. MacDougall remained through 1965,when he was appointed as head of the then new federal program, Project Bravo, for the El Paso region. Having MacDougall as executive director of Project Bravo facilitated the Canutillo community’s efforts for initiating much needed social services including youth sports programs, health services for the elderly, and the Head Start initiative for pre-school children.

Building a Premier District

By 1962, CISD had passed a $330,000 bond issue to add a classroom wing for high school students next to the existing elementary school, which was located at the intersection of Fifth and Central Streets. In 1963, Canutillo ISD graduated its first senior class. And by 1964, CISD’s enrollment was 1,013 students. The new school district struggled through the rest of the 1960’s as it experienced growing pains.
By 1979, CISD officials were ready to move on their plans for a middle school. Another bond issue was passed and work on the middle school campus on Talbot Road was completed. Canutillo Middle School was open for the 1980-81 school year.

By 1971, Canutillo ISD school facilities were too small to house all grade levels- kindergarten through twelfth. Consequently, school officials developed a split-shift daily schedule to accommodate the junior and high school students. In 1973, CISD voters passed its second bond issue for $800,000 for a new high school. The new high school was built on 30 acres of land on Bosque Road that was purchased from the El Paso Public Service Board (PSB). The high school opened for the 1974-75 school year.

In 1998, CISD completed phase one of Canutillo Elementary School for $2.9 million including 18 classrooms, main offices, library, and cafetorium. In 1999, phase two of Canutillo Elementary School was completed for $3.2 million including 30 more classrooms and other campus needs.

In 1987, Canutillo voters passed a $7.1 million bond issue for construction of two new elementary schools: Jose H. Damian Elementary School in the Borderland area and Deanna Davenport Elementary School in the Westway community. In 1994, Canutillo ISD voters passed a $10 million bond issue that provided for the Bill Childress Elementary School, a Support Services & Transportation Facility and for phase one of the new Canutillo Elementary School.

In 1999, CISD Board of Trustees called for a $23 million bond referendum to build a new high school, and voters overwhelmingly passed it by 96 percent. School officials secured 71 percent of the cost through the state’s Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA)program. Site selection for the new campus was an arduous endeavor with community residents having input every step of the way. After considering seven different locations, an advisory committee recommended to the School Board and the Board approved a 50-acre site located west of Interstate-10 next to EPCC’s Northwest Campus.

In April 2003, CISD voters again gave their vote of confidence and passed another bond issue for $12.3 million, $5 million for district-wide maintenance and renovation projects and $7.3 million earmarked for the new high school construction. With the additional funds, school officials were able to enhance the design to ensure a comprehensive campus for at least 1,800 students. In designing the new campus, architects held several meetings with interested community residents and Canutillo High School faculty and staff to elicit needs and suggestions.

In 2006, CISD voters passed a $39 million bond issue that provided for the construction of two new elementary schools and enhancements to existing schools. CISD’s fifth elementary campus,Gonzalo & Sofia Garcia Elementary School welcomed students into the new facility in April 2008.

Early College High School

In the fall of 2008, CISD and El Paso Community College joined efforts to open the Northwest Early College High School, CISD’s second high school, which provides high school students the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma and associate’s degree in four years. NECHS opened its doors with only 100 ninth grade students in 2008, and added a new class of 100 freshmen each subsequent year, graduating its first class in 2011. NECHS is located on the EPCC campus, adjacent door to CHS.

CISD voters supported the district once again by passing a $44 million bond issue and tax ratification election (TRE) in April 2011, which was well known as Decision 2011. The bond issue provided for additional funding needed to build the district’s tenth school as well as make needed upgrades to existing schools.

In summer 2013, CISD broke ground on its tenth campus, Congressman Silvestre and Carolina Reyes Elementary School. The school opened in August 2015.