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Education News

Trustees Press HISD To Open New Alternative Campus “With Fidelity”

HISD will stop outsourcing an alternative education program and run the campus itself starting next school year.


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Camelot Education, to run an disciplinary alternative education program at Beechnut Academy. Students there gathered for an assembly in 2014.
Laura Isensee
For several years, HISD has contracted with the private company, Camelot Education, to run a disciplinary alternative education program at Beechnut Academy. Students there gathered for an assembly in 2014.

Houston will try a new approach for high schoolers with major discipline issues, taking on an alternative education program instead of outsourcing it to a private company.

For years, the Houston Independent School District has sent students who misbehave in a major way to an alternative campus.

It pays a private company called Camelot Education to run that school, with a contract worth about $10 million.

But some parents and students have complained about how they're treated there. Ashley Dalton with the advocacy group ONE Houston told trustees about that. The group’s waged a campaign to end the contract for months.

“And the resounding message that we've heard is to move this program in-house,” Dalton said at the recent board meeting.

The HISD board voted unanimously not to renew its contract with Camelot for the campus, known as Beechnut Academy. Instead, the district will own its own campus and run it next school year. The new location will be at Crawford Elementary north of downtown Houston.

Several board members pressed for the administration to follow through on its plan carefully.

“No shortcuts, no, ‘Well, we thought,” said Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones. “Implement it with actual fidelity that we talked about it because that's the only way this is going to work.”

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza said that he expects the move will save about $3 million a year. What's more, he believes it help stem the flow of students from school to prison.

“Our goal is to put ourselves out of business,” Carranza said. “Our goal is to have environments at every one of our schools where our students can be successful. And the HISD is a different district.”