Bad Schools Hurting Development in North Houston

A Houston City Councilman says he’s fed up. Council Member Jarvis Johnson — whose district runs through northeast Houston — says there’s lot of land waiting to be developed. But it’s not happening. Bill Stamps tells us why.

Last week  the Houston Independent School Board celebrated what it called a history making school year.  Board members with the North Forest School District could be a part of Texas history as well. But there wont be any celebrating. You see the state believes the district is doing so bad it’s in the process of firing every board member and replacing them.

Councilman Jarvis Johnson is upset because until schools in the area improve, he can’t get anyone to build new houses there.

“There’s lots of development that can be done in that area, but many of the developers are saying I can’t build market rate houses.  Because they don’t want to bring their children to that school district.”

North Forrest served predominately poor minority students.

Only two times in history has an entire board been replaced in the State of Texas. But Councilman Johnson says desperate times require desperate measures. He doesn’t believe the poor performing schools are entirely the board’s fault, but he believes they need to change the culture and mindset in North Forest.

“If one of our children is beaten by a police officer or shot…we scream bloody murder.  But now you’re in a situation where the same thing is happening to our children, but it’s a prolonged death — and nobody is screaming bloody murder.”

Not only is no one screaming… Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee doesn’t want to see the board replaced. Johnson disagrees and says changes need to be made immediately. 

Bill Stamps…KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.