North Forest ISD to shut down

November 11, 2011 8:55:08 PM PST
Underperforming North Forest ISD is set to be absorbed by Houston ISD after losing an appeal to the state. NFISD had appealed to stay open, but has been denied.

We've watched the saga in North Forest ISD for years. 13 Undercover exposed financial problems in North Forest ISD back in 2008.

The Texas Education Agency says the problems that have plagued NFISD are too deep-seated to be fixed as things stand. It has ordered HISD to annex NFISD.

According to the TEA, the doors at North Forest ISD and all of its campuses will now be closed. North Forest High School had been ranked "academically unacceptable" for the past six years. The district as a whole had that lowest academic ranking for the past three years.

In a letter to NFISD, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott wrote, "...deep-seated performance, governance, and operational issues in the district have precluded sustained improvement in the district's overall systems for educating its student population...".

Scott added that he is "saddened" to take this action. NFISD parents we broke the news to are also disturbed by the move.

"I guess they gotta do what they have to do. Our children have to learn from somewhere," said one parent.

A spokesperson for NFISD though released a statement saying, "The North Forest Independent School District has retained legal counsel and will continue to fight the closure of the district. The Texas Education Agency is seeking to close the district for issues that occurred while it was running the district."

HISD, however, is moving forward with plans to annex North Forest and its 7,500 students. Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier says the district will have to decide whether to continue to use North Forest buildings or not. He says some staff will be retained, some will not.

Parents just hope this means good things in the classroom for their kids.

"Everything happens for a reason. We're still praying for them. Hopefully things will get better," said Pastor A.L. Mallet.

HISD says this could be seen as an opportunity for the children attending North Forest as HISD is an "open enrollment" district -- children can attend whatever HISD school they wish as long as they meet certain criteria.

The TEA says NFISD will be closed on July 1, 2012.

You can read the TEA letter that has to do with the decision by clicking on this link.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released a statement Friday which read in part, "...the assessment by the TEA commissioner haslargely been based upon the two years the school district has been under the control of the TEA and a conservator. The NFISD now is moving towards the improvements that the TEA failed to accomplish... Stop condemning our children and teachers and give them a chance!!"

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