HOUSTON --Houston ISD has decided to close four small elementary schools it has determined to be economically unviable. The HISD board spent late Thursday evening determining the fate of Grimes, Rhoads, McDade and Stevenson elementary schools. A number of parents and students attended the meeting, hoping their last-minute plea to save their schools would change trustees' mind. It didn't. "Rather than reach for the low-hanging fruit, run into school closure and consolidation, I'd like for them to look substantive cuts, look at some of their administrative costs, look at this building. The cost of this building is phenomenal," parent E. Byron Marbley said. "There are other ways to reach their budgetary goals without closing neighborhood schools." With the closures, the school district will save nearly $1.7 million and shorten the $160 million budgetary gap it's expecting from the state. "It's very inefficient. If you look at the numbers, you realize they have to spend a lot of money just to keep the building open," said Anne Eagleton, who supports the district's decision. "That's not money spend on children's education. That's hiring a custodial crew, that's having the electricity on, cooling, heating. I'd rather the money spent in the classroom on our children." HISD had been weighing options for months now and finally decided it is unable to offer the schools, which host fewer than 400 students each, the same level of programs at larger schools and that keeping them open. "Really these are no longer educationally viable schools," HISD's Jason Spencer said. "We really feel like these students are gonna be better served in schools that are a little bit bigger." The students who attend the small schools closing will now be sent to one of the following other schools:
- Students currently zoned to McDade would be redistributed among Paige, Cook and Kashmere Gardens elementary schools.
- Rhoads Elementary and Grimes Elementary students would attend the Woodson pre-kindergarten through 8th grade school.
- Stevenson Elementary would be redistributed to Memorial and Love elementary schools.