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Education News

Houston District Still Hasn’t Received $7.5 Million For Naming Rights At Fine Arts High School

The nonprofit HSPVA Friends has collected the donation from the Kinder Foundation and is waiting on bank details to transfer the money to HISD in January.

A stairway inside Kinder HPSVA’s new campus pays homage to similar structures at the school’s first two facilities.

In October 2016, the Houston school board accepted a controversial $7.5 million donation from the Kinder Foundation, which received the naming rights for one of the district’s most prestigious high schools.

The money helped plug a budget shortfall in the construction plans for the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

That new $88 million downtown campus is now set to welcome students in January — but the Houston Independent School District still hasn’t received the original donation.

In response to a public records request made by News 88.7, HISD said that it is still finalizing bank deposit details to receive the donation.

Instead, the school’s booster nonprofit, HSPVA Friends, is holding the money in a controlled account. It’s ready to transfer at least $1.5 million immediately to reimburse the district for expenses like the orchestra pit lift, music practice rooms and the studio theater. But it needs bank account information from HISD.

“HSPVA Friends is ready to transfer that amount into the HISD controlled account as soon as HISD provides the account information,” Alene Coggin, executive director of the nonprofit, wrote to the school’s principal in October. “HSPVA Friends would like to complete the reimbursement to HISD for all grant expenses incurred during the construction phase no later than January 2019.”

Still, the delay has frustrated parents like Sarah Terrell, who opposed the school's renaming to start.

“We can't even figure out how to get paid for this thing that we should never have sold in the first place,” Terrell said at a board meeting in November.

The new campus moves the flagship fine arts school from Montrose to downtown, near the city’s arts and theater district. More than 750 students will study music, dance, theater and other arts in the 168,000 square-foot-building that spans five stories and has multiple theaters.

It was originally part of HISD’s 2012 school construction program.

“HSPVA Friends continues to work with HISD to move the granting process forward as expediently as possible and looks forward to joining HISD in celebrating the opening of the new Kinder HSPVA campus in January,” Coggin wrote.