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Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas (Tigua)

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The Tigua donation that would have extended a West Texas school district's free meal program was rejected in a move that critics say would hurt thousands of students. Tribal leaders offered the Ysleta Independent School District $90,000 that educators had earlier said would be necessary to continue the program until the academic year's end. "I am disappointed that the district couldn't take the money to save this worthwhile program," said Gov. Albert Alvidrez. "The tribe and the district have a strong partnership, and we have been a supporter of the district." Although nearly 36,000 students in the Ysleta system qualify for some meal assistance, educators said they weren't sure how much money was necessary to continue the program which was in its trial year. "(It) did not work the way it was envisioned ... We are reviewing our loss and we can't commit to this program," Ysleta spokesman Larry Trejo said. The district would have been reimbursed with federal funds for the nearly $1.5 million a month it spends in providing lunch to its students. Trejo said the district would have accepted the tribe's contribution for other purposes. The interim superintendent said the district's loss in the program could end up being larger than the $90,000 estimated.