LET OUR COMMUNITY DECIDE! CPS Energy Rate Hikes / SAISD School Closures
Centro por la Justicia, publically known as Southwest Workers Union has engaged our members during Community day’s and phone banks throughout the summer. During our time with our member we heard countless conversations about two issues particularly standing out this year; the looming rate hike and potential increase in disconnections for residents, and the public school closures just announced this fall.
Both of these issues negatively affect our base of community. We are working towards organizing our members to support these campaign efforts. Sign up and let us know you are interested and support this work
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CPS Rate Hikes & Increasing Weather:
Despite CPS Energy having a year in which their year-to-date net income is $82.3 million as of the end of July 2023 and fresh off a rate hike for it’s customers just a little over a year and a half ago, CPS Energy is pushing for another rate hike without taking any public input.
As 20% of CPS Energy’s residential customers are unable to keep up with their energy bills, many facing disconnection, CPS Energy is eyeing a 5.5% rate increase before the end 2023, with plans for another rate hike of 5.5% by 2026.
SWU along with our coalition partners have, been working together to halt and address the current structure that benefits the top business polluters while disconnecting residents who cannot pay.We know that another rate hike will negatively affect populations that are already struggling to keep the lights on. We are organizing against rate hikes until there is robust public engagement and rates designed to encourage conservation from the heaviest users while protecting the most vulnerable.
This year SWU ran a CPS Voucher program and a Fan Distribution for our members for a total of 114 households benefiting from the mutual aid effort. We did this to support and ensure our members are able to keep the lights on.
Another issue that was brought up to us was the lack of support for construction worker safety, our organizers are working to address and build a base of workers affected by this issue.
San Antonio ISD School Closure:
On Sept.18, SAISD recently announced a plan to close 19 schools next school year. What they’re calling a “Rightsizing” plan would affect 12 schools within a 10 min drive of Southwest Workers Union office with the other 7 schools not being much further away. These school closures would affect Districts 1,2,3,4,5,and 7 with Districts 2 and 4 hit the hardest. The reasoning behind the closures according to SAISD is that resources are not being shared equally across the district and that smaller schools take more funding to run than bigger schools. SAISD stated that school closures would not be a cost saving measure. While many lofty solutions are being thrown around about what will happen to the abandoned school buildings, SAISD has not made any guarantees. The school board will vote on closures on November 13th after hosting several meetings across the district to engage with students, families, and community members about the closures and nothing is set in stone yet.
On August 5th, SWU canvassed our members during an event, about 40 families signed up to move this topic forward and continue to understand where to participate. Our community deserves the right to vote on this process of school closures. Our students deserve to have their schools stay open, we encourage everyone to get to a community engagement meeting near them and let their voices be heard at the SAISD Board meeting on October 16th.