September 11, 2007
More grumbling about the HISD bond vote

More negative feedback for HISD regarding its bond proposal.

Residents of Acres Homes and other predominantly African-American neighborhoods said Monday they won't support the Houston school district's $805 million bond issue if the schools in their communities remain earmarked for closure and if renovations at other campuses remain underfunded.

Some of the 200 residents who attended Monday's town hall meeting vowed to organize a voter registration drive to make sure their voices are heard in the Nov. 6 election.

"We no longer will sit by and watch one more time," City Councilman Jarvis Johnson said. "Acres Homes alone will not defeat this bond. Fifth Ward alone will not defeat this bond. South Central alone will not defeat this bond. Collectively, we will come together and send a strong message."

The bond, the third HISD has asked for since 1998, would build 22 new campuses and repair 128 others. It would also provide $90 million for security upgrades and build new science labs at secondary schools.

But Acres Homes residents said their schools are getting shortchanged. The more than 110-year-old Booker T. Washington High School campus, for instance, would receive only $3.7 million for renovations, making it difficult, they said, for the 930-student campus to compete with newer schools in the area.

Issues similar to these were raised during the debate between Natasha Kamrani and State Rep. Sylvester Turner at last week's HGLBT Political Caucus meeting. The parents and neighborhoods have made their concerns clear. It's up to HISD to respond in a way that convinces them to support the bond proposal.

If the bond passes, [HISD Superintendant Abe] Saavedra said Monday that he'll try to find a way to keep Osborne Elementary open.

He said he also plans to make other adjustments to the bond based on feedback he's received during a recent series of community meetings.

We'll see if that's enough.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 11, 2007 to Election 2007