Leaders gather to discuss HISD concerns

March 15, 2008 6:39:06 PM PDT
Community leaders are now coming together, upset about the possible consolidation of HISD schools. And they want answers.Earlier this week, HISD decided to lay off 22 teachers from schools with lowered enrollment. They're also asking questions about Key Middle School.

It's a problem that has been brewing for several months, especially since consolidations were proposed several months ago.

While community leaders condone HISD being fiscally responsible, they don't want to lose jobs or even close schools that are considered essential to the neighborhood. One of those schools is Key Middle School. Leaders say it is considered essential to the neighborhood.

Key Middle school was closed down earlier this year when a mold problem was blamed for several health problems among staff members and students. While Key Middle School was closed, students on the campus were transferred to nearby Fleming Middle School.

HISD says it has cleaned out Key Middle School and it will be ready for students to re-enter after spring break. But community leaders remain concerned about whether the HISD superintendent is doing what is best for neighborhood schools. This is an issue they wanted to discuss and they wanted to tell school leaders that Key Middle School is not a healthy building.

"We believe that we need to take a second look at asking for new construction. In fact, our commitment is still to new construction," said US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee (D) Houston. "But secondarily, we need an alternative to re-entering the Key Middle School, even last week's review tour evidenced people who were getting sick."

The group leaders say they also want a definite plan from HISD for opening and closing schools. About 100 local pastors, we're told, have formed a task force to look at this issue. One HISD board trustee who is on board is Carol Galloway.

In the meantime, Key Middle School is set to reopen after spring break on March 26.

HISD has nearly 200,000 students in the district and more than 12,500 teachers. The administration oversees 300 schools.

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