HISD looking for options for reduce overcrowding in school classrooms

Numbers from the Texas Education Agency show there are nearly 1,500 elementary school classroom in HISD that have more than 22 students per teacher. It's a number the district says it wants to lower using a redistricting plan that would affect more than two dozen schools.

It's in elementary school that the state says classrooms can have no more than 22 students -- except HISD has more in some schools, allowed by state waiver because of space. It's proposing some 26 schools be rezoned so enrollment can be evened out among them.

HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern Jones said, "That's just the few we started with. This is supposed to be a plan that will take years to resolve."

Among the schools on the list is West University Elementary, in an affluent area that's booming.

Parent Jennifer Allison said, "With mid-rises going up, the school's overcrowded as it is and we'll have to go to a lottery system and up the money to send them to private school."

She supports rezoning, which means neighborhood children would go to a neighborhood school.

Also mentioned as part of the same zone, the Rice School, which draws students from around the district. Parents like Tony Stewart, a father of three sons all enrolled at the school, fear it could close enrollment to them.

"My sons happen to be straight A students, on the honor roll, so when we have that type of potential I want to give them the best chance to be successful," Steward said.

Bringing elementary classrooms down to size isn't an option for HISD. It's been ordered to do so by the state. Stewart doesn't know how to solve that.

"I'm not smart enough to know how to figure out all that," he said. "Let me tell you what I do know -- I know we have to give kids an opportunity to be successful."
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