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Judson school board to vote on early college program

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Some students in the Judson school district are worried that an academy that allows them to earn an associate's degree while still in high school could close.

“Going to JECA is different,” said Jesse Gutierrez, a senior at Judson Early College Academy. “It's not your traditional high school."

The Judson Early College Academy or JECA first opened in 2009.

When seniors Jesse Gutierrez and Amaya Harris graduate next spring they will receive a high school diploma.

"But also we get an associate's degree from Northeast Lakeview and Alamo Colleges in liberal arts," said Gutierrez.

Gutierrez and Harris both say the school has made them more prepared for college.

"I have a little sister she's in first grade and she already has dreams and goals of going to JECA,” said Harris. “She's like, 'I want to go to JECA.' That's something she looks forward to when she goes up and goes to high school.”

But they fear they might be the last graduating class from JECA.

The Judson administration says closing JECA is not even an option.

“JECA will be around,” said Steve Linscomb, spokesperson for Judson ISD. “Now [the school board] could come back and say hey we need to take a second look at this, sure. But right now it's not even being talked about."

Right now, Judson also offers early college classes at the three high schools in the district.

"The partnership that we have with Alamo Colleges has changed a bit," said Linscomb. “There is a cost sharing measure that has been put out there and so that’s kind of changed the game somewhat.”

Judson ISD is considering two options.

The first would reduce the ECHS student enrollment at the three high schools.

"The other option is to have only one campus that has the early college school within a school model," said Linscomb.

District officials say the school board's next meeting is scheduled for October 19.

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