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Education News

Houston Parents, Alumni Oppose Closing Jones High School

In Houston's Sunnyside neighborhood — Jones High School — is facing the threat of closure for the second year in a row. The district says not enough students attend the school. But community members see a different problem.



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More than 100 parents, students and alumni showed up at Jones High School Tuesday night.

They lined up in the aisles of the auditorium to ask questions about their school’s fate and to give their frank feedback.

Here’s one graduate Reba Wright. She wants her own children to attend Jones.

“But there’s nothing here that you’re offering for the people to bring the kids here. So it’s the community. It’s not the students. It’s not the teachers. It’s the administration.”

What she said next was a recurring message during the night.

“You guys have failed our community and I don’t want my community to die because you guys are neglecting Jones.

Another charge against the district is that Jones was slated to benefit from the 2012 bond program. But now it’s facing closure instead of a better building for the future.

As far as academics, there used to be a vanguard program at Jones High School. It was geared for very talented students.

Keep Jones AliveBut in 2002 that program was moved to the Carnegie campus on the other side of downtown.

It’s become a nationally recognized high school for gifted students.

But Sunnyside resident Larry McKinzie asks why there’s nothing similar at Jones.

“Now you charge us with low enrollment but you have allowed all of these things –You have provided the environment for low enrollment to happen. And you sit around here and you act like, ‘Hey, I didn’t do nothing wrong!’”

But Jones does have a magnet for science technology engineering and math.

Michael Cardona with HISD says the district has invested grant money and other resources to build that program.

“So efforts have been made to try and boost programs that they mention. The kids just aren’t coming.”

More than 2,000 high school age students live in the neighborhood around Jones, according to the census.

But less than 500 of them actually attend Jones. Most students transfer to other schools.

That low enrollment is making the future uncertain for Jones and also four other schools here in Houston.

But it’s not clear if those proposed closures have the support of the Houston school board.

One trustee Paula Harris tells the crowd at Jones that she’s against it.

“I’ve never been on magna cum laude. I’ve never been on the dean’s list. But I can count to five. And there are not five votes to close these schools.”

The board is expected to discuss the proposed closures next week and then vote in March.