New NFISD superintendent holds meeting

November 9, 2008 5:34:18 AM PST
We have the latest on the troubled North Forest ISD.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The district has been operating under new leadership this school year after it was taken over by the Sstate of Texas for its years of financial troubles. The community met Saturday morning with the opportunity to ask questions of the new man in charge.

It was a beautiful day in northeast Houston and only a subject as serious as the future of North Forest ISD could draw people inside.

"It's very serious, very serious," said parent Robin German Curtis.

This is the first meeting with the district's new state-assigned, superintendent.

"We're paying our bills to reduce the deficit and that's our objective," said North Forest ISD Superintendent Dr. Adrain Johnson.

That deficit now stands at $11.4 million. Dr. Adrain Johnson says it doesn't need to be paid right away, but soon.

"As we operate the current budget, we need to come in under budget," said Dr. Johnson. "Come in under that and then that adds to reducing the deficit."

"We are excited about it, but we know it's not a magic bullet," said parent Robin German Curtis. "We have the opportunity to hopefully save North Forest. It's our last opportunity."

Curtis is the mother of three district graduates, but still has one more in private school because the district couldn't meet his needs.

"Without the money to operate, children are bussed to other school districts," she said.

So it's back to basics -- keeping schools clean, increasing and accurately reporting enrollment. But Johnson also hopes people will vote to increase taxes to pay the district's debt.

It's a property tax increase of 13 cents, costing the average homeowner, according to the district, about $66 a year.

"North Forest ISD is the largest employer in this community because it helps the community sustain its identity," said Dr. Johnson.

The vote on the tax referendum is on December 6, with early voting starting on the December 17. The state plans to stay in control of the district for at least two years.

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