North Forest ISD officially closes today

July 1, 2013 4:38:01 PM PDT
North Forest ISD is no more. After a back and forth legal battle, the embattled district lost its final appeal last week, and on Monday, the process of its annexation into Houston ISD began.

It was a day the North Forest tried to fight off, but it's here. HISD has now taken over the district, bringing in their own crews and upgrading schools.

Yellow HISD work trucks dot the parking lot of Shadydale Elementary. The school ended the year in the North Forest ISD, but is now in the hands of HISD.

"It's our first day in this community as HISD," new Shadydale Elementary principal Tammie Daily said.

Crews are changing the locks, and assessing the schools to see what upgrades are needed to be fully operational for the first day of school.

After years of low test scores and financial mismanagement, the Texas Education Agency forced North Forest ISD to dissolve and be absorbed by HISD. Though they will take some 7,000 students in, hundreds of former North Forest ISD teachers and employees are jobless now.

"I don't like it because we're unemployed now. And we have to get out and find another job," former North Forest ISD teacher Paula White said.

Another former North Forest eighth grade teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the merger is bittersweet and HISD will be able to bring more into the schools.

"More technology, more areas to address, more assistance with educational endeavors," that teacher said.

HISD has hired about 25 new teachers and is screening another 40, but will not be able to hire back all North Forest teachers.

"As far as hiring, the best talent is what we want to attract," Daily said.

So as crews work to upgrade newly taken over schools, some North Forest teachers are hoping they can be hired back into the schools they once worked.

"I'm waiting to hear back from them and setting up the interviews," White said.

HISD says some schools will be closed and other merged. On some campuses, summer school actually begins July 8.

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