North Forest ISD determined to improve

April 2, 2012 2:52:58 PM PDT
There may be confusion and uncertainty for many parents and students in the North Forest Independent School District. Now that the state is not allowing Houston ISD to annex the district, what does that mean?

District officials gathered Monday in hopes of straightening some things out for parents.

It has been a tumultuous four years for North Forest. In 2008, the state found that it had a negative fund balance, then academically unacceptable ratings and substandard achievement.

Late last year came what was expected to be the end of the district; its status was revoked by the Texas Education Agency.

A surprise announcement came from the state Friday: North Forest would be given another year to demonstrate improvement.

Some changes are already being made.

"I'm very proud of the growth that's been made this far in North Forest, and I look forward to a promising future," NFISD Superintendent Dr. Edna Forte said.

NFISD owes $8 million to its bond and construction fund. Its completion or graduation rate is below the acceptable level of 75 percent.

The district's attorney, Chris Tritico, requested a two-year extension, but only received one year.

"We're going to put a plan in place to get this district turned around and show it can be the model district it wants to be," Tritico said.

To do that, it will be selling school district property and working to improve school attendance. A tax increase is also not out of the question.

NFISD has a year to prove itself, but district officials are confident.

"North Forest is viable and it will remain viable," Tritico said.

HISD says if improvements do not continue and the state still calls on it to assume operation of North Forest, it will stand ready to do so in a year. But HISD, too, hopes the improvements can be managed.

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