Troubled school district put on notice

June 18, 2008 5:11:36 PM PDT
A struggling school district gets a big wakeup call from the state. The TEA says North Forest ISD has one more school year to get its act together.

We've told you for months about the financial and staffing problems which have plagued the district leaving it on the verge of losing its accreditation.

Now the state agency has laid out what improvements it wants to see and how soon.

The state of Texas put the district on accredited probation saying it found both academic and financial problems. A long list was written outlining what was found at the district. The Texas Education Association says they could not determine if graduating seniors were getting enough credits and say some campuses have a history of pattern of academically poor performance. The report notes attendance is low, about 80%, and that is low for a district. Plus the district has overstaffed and overspent the budget by $3.2 million.

The district has up to a year to begin making some of the improvements. The superintendent told Eyewitness News last month the district is already working to put a new plan in place.

"I want this to be a district they can send their kids to," said North Forest ISD Interim Superintendent William Jones. "I hear communities and their concern is that I live here, I want my kids to go to school here but I need it to be a district representing what I want my child to have."

The district must notify parents and taxpayers of the new status by the end of the month, then have about a year before the state would reassess if they do not comply, the license would be revoked.

Last month, a 13 Undercover investigation found serious problems in the district's special education department. Reporter Wayne Dolcefino showed you how the former director employed family and friends, using federal grant money, to do jobs they weren't qualified to perform. After those reports, the Harris County District Attorney's office began investigating the Special Ed program, and that is still underway.

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