Greater Houston Partnership endorses HISD bond proposal

Okay, now I think this thing might be a favorite to pass.

The Houston school district’s bond proposal won a much-needed, though not unanimous, endorsement from the city’s largest business organization on Wednesday.

The Greater Houston Partnership would not disclose the specific vote, taken during a closed meeting, but the group’s president, Jeff Moseley, said some business leaders were troubled that school officials did not solicit opinions from the community while crafting the $805 million bond proposal.

The partnership, which has backed the district’s past two bond issues, initially withheld support for the Nov. 6 referendum after black community leaders criticized the proposal.

“Ultimately, it came down to, ‘What’s the best thing to do for the boys and girls in the district?’ ” Moseley said. “And we think it’s right for the boys and girls and for our regional economy.”

I again have to give credit to HISD for plugging away at this. It would have been far preferable had they engaged the community beforehand, but they’ve done a pretty good job since then of making up for lost time. There’s still room to grow, though.

The partnership’s resolution did, however, ask district officials to reach out to the community.

“We support the bond,” Moseley said, “but we are calling on HISD board leadership to be responsive to community leaders and citizens that are having a lot of questions about how this package will be implemented.”

The partnership’s endorsement comes on the heels of several others in recent days. But one major group, the Houston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, still is not promising support.

“Our position is not based on what the Houston Partnership does,” said James Douglas, counsel for the NAACP.

But Douglas applauded the partnership’s request for more community discussions.

“Our hope,” he said, “is that the superintendent will take the advice and spend some time trying to reach a consensus with the NAACP and its supporters.”

At this point, I could maybe see that happening, though I know that some of the folks who have been outspoken about their concerns have now formally morphed into opposition, so it may be too late for them. Still, there’s no reason not to press forward. We’ll see what happens.

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