HISD board puts forward plan to close four schools

April 21, 2011 9:10:45 AM PDT
The HISD board met this morning for another round of budget talks to deal with an anticipated shortfall of $160 million in state funding. The district put forward a plan Thursday to close four schools and redraw some attendance zones to more evenly distribute children among campuses.

HISD says the plan is expected to save more than $1.6 million in the 2011-2012 school year. In addition to saving money, the plan also gives more students greater access to programs and services that smaller schools cannot afford, said HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier.

The small schools closing under the proposed changes include:

  • McDade Elementary (current enrollment of 272 students) would close. Students currently zoned to McDade would be redistributed among Paige, Cook and Kashmere Gardens elementary schools.

  • Rhoads Elementary (current enrollment of 320 students) and Grimes Elementary (current enrollment of 380 students) would close. Those students would attend the Woodson pre-kindergarten through 8th grade school.

  • Stevenson Elementary (current enrollment of 357 students) would close. Students would be redistributed to Memorial and Love elementary schools.

Other small schools would receive more students under the plan:

  • Burrus Elementary (current enrollment of 390 students) would receive some students currently zoned to Roosevelt Elementary. Roosevelt would then receive some students from Herrera Elementary, which is currently exceeding its capacity.

  • Houston Gardens Elementary (current enrollment of 362 students) would receive some students currently zoned to Cook Elementary. Some students currently zoned to Cook already live closer to Houston Gardens. The loss of Cook students to Houston Gardens would be offset by the arrival of students from McDade.

The district says factors considered in the proposal included each school's enrollment history and trends, neighborhood housing changes, school facility and grounds, school capacity, and proximity to other campuses with available space.

Dr. Grier says the district is reviewing school bus transportation policies in light of the changes to school attendance zones to ensure that all students are able to get to their schools safely.

A final vote on school closures is set for May 12.

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