Jerry Davis grew up and went to school in the North Forest Independent School District. These days, besides running his own restaurant, he’s also running for city council. Part of the campaign requires going door-to-door talking to residents about their concerns. One subject that comes up a lot is the local school district. Despite what you hear and see on TV, he says many residents want the district shutdown.
"They’re saying, ‘hey you’ve had enough time to actually get this done, so why hasn’t it gotten done?’ So they feel another year, another two years is not enough. You’ve had twenty something years to rectify the problem."
One of those residents is Herman Williams who has lived on Rebel Road for 45 years. He won’t name names but he says the problems start at the top.
"The type of people who have run for the board have exacerbated the situation, because they’ve misappropriated money and been downright dishonest in some cases. It’s not about the kids. It has never been about the kids. It has always be about some individuals enriching themselves."
Williams says most of his neighbors who care about their kids’ education have sent them to other districts. He believes board members have mismanaged North Forest for years.
"They had houses elsewhere and they moved into the district to run for the board. So why would you do that to run for a position that doesn’t pay? So that lets you know the motive for some of these folks wasn’t pure."
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee vowed to lead the charge to keep North Forest ISD open. But Williams believes Jackson Lee is being hypocritical. He says the standards the congresswoman met in order to get into Yale law school are the same standards the district should be held to.
"She didn’t wish her way; she didn’t wish her way out. She had to prepare and perform and she had to pass the bar. Performance. Why in the world can’t these people see that this is what North Forest students need. They need to be prepared to perform."
As for Jerry Davis who hopes to represent the area on the city council, he says the decision whether or not to keep the district open is a difficult one.
"If the inability to educate the kids continues, yeah you need to close it."
And if improvement is made?
"If we can do the job, then yes, we need to keep it open. But we’ve gotta stay committed to the kids. That’s first and foremost."
The TEA says North Forest will close after this school year and students will be sent to HISD schools. Some like Herman Williams agree with that decision, but others have began a petition drive to appeal.