New initiative to tie apartment leases to school year

March 17, 2011 4:22:12 PM PDT
Tens of thousands of Houstonians live in apartments across the city and often when families move from apartment to apartment, children are forced to change schools.

A new effort is underway to make those transitions easier, by coordinating lease agreements with school schedules.

This could take effect in just a few weeks and tenants we spoke with say the plan makes perfect sense.

As a single mother, stability has always been important to Joy Molano, especially when it comes to her son's education.

"He told me that he wants to stay here, too, because of the school and he has his friends here," she said.

That's why Molano has stayed at the same southwest Houston apartment complex for seven years. The problem is a lot of renters with kids aren't like her. They go where the incentives are and when those move in specials expire, they move out and move on -- even in the middle of a school year.

"Children who have been ferried from one school to another, it's been shown statistically they are not performing at the level of someone who has a more stable and consistent attendance at a particular school," said Richard Rodriguez with Brays Oaks Management District.

The Brays Oaks Management District wants to change that. Through Project Stay, participating apartment managers would tailor their apartment leases to the school year in an attempt to decrease mobility rates among the school-age children.

Los Arcos, the complex where Molano lives, is on board.

"We want to help our community, and we believe in education for our children," said Julio Ramirez with Los Arcos.

"I don't want to have to take him somewhere different and he'll have to start over again," she said.

Brays Oaks is teaming up with the Houston Apartment Association and HISD in an effort to make this happen. A meeting is set for April first with HISD to finalize the plan. This is really one component of a larger initiative to improve the quality of life out here. The effort also is offering bus service beginning at 6pm for kids who want to take enrichment courses or after-school tutoring

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