This is the first genuine good news I've heard for the HISD bond proposal so far.
[Saturday], the [screening] committee [for the Houston GLBT Political Caucus] met once again with a representative from HISD. The revised proposal was presented, and many questions were answered. In general the committee was very pleased with the changes, but most members were still upset with HISD's poor attempts at community outreach. After a lengthy discussion, the committee decided to recommend endorsement of the revised bond proposal. The Board also met yesterday, and we voted unanimously to endorse the HISD Bond Proposal this fall. I will discuss the details of the new bond and the significance of our endorsement in a subsequent post.
UPDATE: Did I say momentum? Maybe not so much.
A coalition of black political, religious and community leaders vowed Sunday to campaign against the Houston school district's $805 million bond referendum if HISD leaders insist on going forward with the November election without major changes.
More than a dozen leaders -- including NAACP officials, state lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and the Rev. Bill Lawson -- criticized the Houston Independent School District for insensitivity to the black community, whose input was not sought in shaping the bond package that would build 24 schools and renovate 134 others.
They called on HISD leaders to put off the vote until May, after everyone has had a chance to have their say.
Most of their comments were directed at Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra, who last week conceded he erred by waiting too long to discuss his plans with the community.
James W.E. Dixon II, a pastor and NAACP officer, said this marks the first time the collective black leadership has come forward to challenge a school bond proposal. They've supported the district's efforts in the past, he said.
Black leaders were "appalled we were labeled outsiders to this process," said Dixon, adding that the bond should be about more than bricks and mortar and should include improving the quality of educational programs in neighborhood schools.
Leaders at Sunday's meeting, held in front of the NAACP's Houston branch office, said if no changes to the terms of the bond proposal are made, they will continue to press a grass-roots awareness campaign with a citywide town hall meeting and other community forums.
"We are saying, 'Pull it down or we will vote it down,'" Dixon said.