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Saving Magnet Programs

Houston school district officials get an earful from parents of children who attend magnet schools. Town hall meetings are being held to get input from the community before HISD Superintendent Terry Grier decides on their future. Pat Hernandez has the story.


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Over three dozen parents attended the HISD town hall meeting on the future of the district’s 113 magnet programs. After conducting a comprehensive audit, representatives from Magnet Schools of America made several recommendations that could determine the future of some of the district’s magnet programs. Lupita Hinojosa is Assistant Superintendent of school choice. She admitted she wasn’t sure what effect budgetary concerns would have on them.

“Every single campus has a neighborhood Vanguard program. Every single campus has gifted and talented trained teachers with the same certification that our Magnet Vanguard schools have. So you can go to your neighborhood school and have a Vanguard program available.”

Parent Lisa Sullivan told the group she went to Austin to talk to state lawmakers as they wrangle with a budget shortfall that could affect the HISD to the tune of 300-million dollars, virtually making the magnet program a moot point.

“They basically told us that people are getting what they want. They want the budget balanced. We didn’t ask them to balance it on the backs of children and families and the poor, and that’s what they’re doing right now. They basically told us these are gonna go through the budget as they are, unless there’s a groundswell of people who are calling their legislators and saying this is not okay.”

Sullivan considers herself lucky to have her child enrolled at Coulter Elementary, even though her family is zoned to a different campus. She offered a suggestion on saving some schools.

“I really would like to see HISD look at those most successful programs and fund them at a level that they will remain sustainable, but then replicate them across the district. Because a lot of children are not getting this opportunity and I think that’s very important that they’re replicated. Look at leadership and everything at those campuses and hold them accountable to high standards, so that the programs are successful.”

Parents were told that based on their input and recommendations made by Magnet Schools of America, HISD Superintendent Terry Grier will formulate a plan to be presented to the school board in early Spring.

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