Water Bill Dispute Forces Schools To Close In Small Texas Town

LA VILLA (January 13, 2014) Schools were closed Monday in the small South Texas town of La Villa because of a dispute over a water bill between the city and school district.

"All La Villa I.S.D. schools will be closed until further notice,” the district said in a posting on its website Monday.

The town, about 25 miles east of McAllen, shut water off to the district shortly before Christmas, more than a year after the long-festering dispute began.

According to a flurry of letters from both sides, the district continued to pay its water bill at a previous rate, ignoring a change in December 2012 that increased a surcharge for each consumer at the district to $14 from $6.

The city says the district owes it owed more than $58,000.

According to a press release from the district, a hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Austin before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which the district hopes will help in ending the impasse.

The Texas Education Agency told the district that lost days can be made up, the press release said.