Fort Bend ISD votes on rezoning, discusses layoffs

March 8, 2011 5:53:56 PM PST
Big changes are coming to Fort Bend ISD after last night's board meeting. The board passed three rezoning plans for some elementary, middle and high schools.

It was a long night for Fort Bend ISD. The meeting wrapped up just after midnight. Most of the people who wanted to speak to the board were there to address the effects of rezoning, which has been the focus of several public hearings dating back to last fall.

A lot of neighborhoods held rallies, hoping to convince the board to keep their neighborhood together. The district's goal is to redistribute student enrollment, but the numbers, parents say, still fall short. Parents say some of the numbers still show overcrowding at some campuses while other schools remained under-enrolled. The board passed the elementary and middle school plan on Monday night.

The district also was trying to compensate for up to a $74 million budget shortfall. The board declared the district in a state of emergency and that move legally gives Fort Bend ISD the green light to implement a reduction in force of teachers and staff as needed.

"Fort Bend and all other school districts across the state will be different. We will have much larger class sizes. We will be able to offer fewer programs," trustee Tracy Hoke said. "Fort Bend has been known for some great, innovative things and our ability to be innovative and do new and different things is going to be somewhat limited."

"Fort Bend schools are well lit at night, all night. Turn the lights off," parent Delores Collins said. "Some districts are doing that to save money."

Late last night, the board also passed three re-zoning plans. That will affect some elementary, middle and high schools, another very emotional issue for a lot of parents. The board, like HISD, has to adopt a budget by June 30.

The district will hold its second budget town hall meeting on Tuesday to discuss the impact of state budget cuts.