UPDATED: Five HISD Schools on the Chopping Block (Unless a Successful Argument Is Made Why This Shouldn't Happen)

Categories: Education

Photo by Margaret Downing
HISD's Mark Smith gets ready to explain where students will be heading when they hit the road.
Three elementaries -- Dodson, Nathaniel Q. Henderson and Port Houston -- Fleming Middle Schools and Jones High School will be closing their doors to their students if the Houston ISD school board agrees with administration proposals spelled out in a press conference this morning.

All the schools fell prey to plunging demographics -- they don't have enough kids -- and while there are indeed other HISD schools that don't reach the desired enrollment standards the district has established (400 kids at an elementary, 750 at middle schools and 1,000 at high schools) the five selected in this round are also blessed/cursed with being close enough to other HISD schools that can absorb their student bodies.

In addition, Billy Reagan K-8 has been such a smashing success that the district says it has to rezone around it because it needs to send some of the overflow of kids to other nearby schools.

As usual, administration officials said nothing was set in stone and announced a series of community meetings at the schools named in the proposal. Not only students and their parents but teachers and other school personnel will obviously be affected if the changes go through.

Photo by Margaret Downing
HISD Chief Communications Officer Tiffany Davila-Dunne
Chief Student Support Officer Mark Smith insisted that while, yes, there should be a cost savings to the district with the closures, this was not the primary reason for shutting down schools. By moving students to other schools, the hope is that with a more robust campus population, more courses and extracurriculars can be offered.

Here's the deal:

Dodson Elementary's kids go to Blackshear, Rusk K-8 and Lantrip.

Nat Q. Henderson students go to Bruce and Pugh.

Port Houston students move over to Pleasantville.

Fleming Middle School students move to Key, McReynolds and Marshall

Jones High School students go into Sterling and Worthing.

Some Reagan K-8 kids are sent to Petersen and Montgomery elementaries, both of which feed into Dowling Middle.

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I have no problem with closing under-enrolled campuses, but isn't the possible closure of Jones HS yet another indictment of Dr. Grier's Apollo Program? Last year, they closed Ryan MS, another Apollo school. What's going on?

When this program was unveiled four years ago, Dr. Grier promised parents he would save their schools, not close them. He promised parents he would place a high-performing teacher in every classroom, not get rid of high-performing teachers who were already there.

I'm afraid my old school, Attucks MS, will be on next year's list. Oh, what the heck, just give Grier another $125K bonus and be done with it.

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