State Allows Houston Charter School To Reopen

A north Houston charter school will reopen tomorrow with the blessing of the Texas State Board of Education. Last month the state wanted to shut down Benji’s Academy, but after the community voiced its strong opposition, the school is being given a second chance. Bill Stamps tells us why.


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

Benji’s Academy is located near I-45 just north of Downtown. Richard Johnson a spokesman for the school say it’s one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.

“And also one of the highest crime rate areas in our town. Also, if you look at the zip codes, one of the primary contributors to the criminal justice system. This community could not afford to lose an educational unit, an academic unit, at this time or at or no time that I could see in the distant future. “

It appears that’s how many in the community felt. That there was too much at stake to let Benji’s close. The Texas Education Agency said the school was nearly bankrupt and teachers hadn’t been paid. Houston Councilman Jarvis Johnson says the financial matters can be worked out.

“Benji’s was not closed through TEA for academic reasons. It succeeded academically. It may have fallen on financial hardships that needed to have a new administration come in and put things in place to keep it viable and that’s what happened today.”

Under the deal struck with the state, the charter school will be allowed to open under new management. Here’s Richard Johnson again.

“You’ll see new management in most of the critical areas first, which is the finance department, the enrollment management department and throughout the administration.”

Jarvis Johnson says the school deserved a second chance because it’s a place where students get second chances.

“This was home to many of the most difficult students to educate. They have already tried many of the other educational institutions in this community. And for whatever reason it did not work, but it worked here at Benji’s.”

A number of students and teachers left the school last month after the stated ordered closed. Those students are welcome to come back and the teachers are welcome to reapply.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required