September 24, 2007
GLBT Political Caucus endorses revised HISD bond proposal

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.

Maybe now HISD will get some momentum for this. Maybe it's still not too late. We'll see.

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.

That's very bad news for HISD. I hope they're listening, is all I can say.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 24, 2007 to Election 2007

HISD hasn't gone public with school closings associated with this bond. My sons play at a baseball field built 2 years ago on the Wharton Elem school yard (at Clay and Montrose). The money was provately donated by the Hilton family. Wharton is scheduled to be closed and the property sold as a part of this bond proposal. Inner city Little League teams will lose a brand new field. There aren't enough green spaces in this city for kid's sports as it is. As a public school mom who ordinarily supports public schools, I'm not supporting this bond because of HISD's secrecy and the slap in the face of public initiative.

Posted by: Teresa Womack on September 24, 2007 5:18 PM

I'm a caucus member, and unfortunately due to business travel have been unable to participate recently. I think this endorsement is a mistake, as HISD--particularly under the leadership of Saavedra--is totally tone deaf to community needs. I also have serious doubts as to his administration's fiscal management. I'm with Rev. Lawson and the African American leaders on this one. I think this bond issue should and will go down to defeat.

Posted by: david on September 24, 2007 11:04 PM