HISD Opens District Doors

HISD students who live outside the district now pay five thousand to seven thousand dollars a year tuition, but the HISD board is expected to eliminate that requirement this week. Starting this fall, out-of-district students will be allowed to enroll -- tuition free -- in any HISD school that has room for them. The state will pay the district a little over five thousand dollars a year per student.

HISD North Region Superintendent Cynthia Wilson says the district is doing this bring the enrollment up, because it's been losing enrollment for the past ten years.

"It's in the thousands. We will be under 200 thousand students for the first time in probably more years than anyone could count, at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year."

Wilson says they expect the open doors will attract as many as a thousand new students who're looking for academic programs that might not be available to them now.

"We have lots of magnet programs, we have specialty programs that sometimes are not available in other districts. We have engineering programs, we have arts, math, science, just to name a few."

Wilson says families outside the district should know that HISD won't be accepting everyone who applies. Under the current plan, acceptance will be based on space availability, the student's attendance records and disciplinary history. Students sent to alternative education in another district won't be admitted to HISD. And the district will not provide transportation for students who live outside the district.

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.
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