HISD considering closure of five campuses at end of school year


The five campuses at the center of the proposal are Dodson, Nathaniel Q. Henderson and Port Houston elementary schools, Fleming Middle School and Jones High School. The school district says the proposal is part of a plan designed to "address fluctuating enrollment and changing demographics across the city."

Two of the affected schools are in Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones' district. She told Eyewitness News over the phone, "I don't support any closures in District 2 at all. These kids deserve neighborhood schools."

The school district also is considering redrawing attendance boundaries at Billy Reagan K-8.

According to the PIO, the district was in the process of notifying parents with phone calls Wednesday night. They say they posted notices on the websites of the schools and more information has been sent home with students.

"The population is no longer there, the whole neighborhood is changing," said HISD spokesperson Sheleah Reed. "Industries are coming, so there may not be children in that area anyway, so keeping a school there does not exactly help the community."

HISD officials say the decision all boils down to low enrollment and a changing demographic.

But not everyone within HISD is on board. Boardmember Rhonda Skillern-Jones represents District 2. She says within the last five years, seven schools in that area have already been closed.

"I'm just not a fan of closing schools," she said. "Look at some alternatives that would retain and attract students to the area, as opposed to closing down the schools."

"They are going to have a problem if they have five schools of teachers who go, well why even apply, we'll just go to another school districts," said Gayle Fallon with the Houston Federation of Teachers.

A statement from the district states that the plan would allow enrollment and resources to be better distributed across campuses. Teachers at each campus would be reassigned.

The HISD Board of Education is expected to discuss the matter during its school board meetings this month and vote on the issue in March.

HISD is hosting a community meeting from 6:30-7:30pm Tuesday at Jones High School, 7414 Saint Lo Road, to discuss the proposal with the public.

This information will be presented to the board for a final decision on each proposal. Trustees are expected to vote on the proposals at their March 13 board meeting.

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