Some cost more than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth it.
Supporters of Houston’s nationally recognized High School for the Performing and Visual Arts have lobbied for 15 years for a larger, more modern building.
They could get their wish soon. But sticker shock over the $80.2 million price tag – for a school built to hold 750 students – may have to subside first.
The new campus, planned for downtown Houston instead of the current Montrose site, would cost $107,000 per student. That amounts to two or three times the per-pupil price for the other new high schools in HISD Superintendent Terry Grier’s proposal for a November bond referendum.
“What I don’t know is, what are we getting for $80 million? We have not sat down and gone over all those costs,” HISD board president Mike Lunceford said Friday. “We know there are special needs for that school. We need schools that are going to hold up, but we’re not trying to build Taj Mahals.”
Well, not to put too fine a point on it, HSPVA is one of the crown jewels of HISD, and as a school that offers specialized programming – performing and visual arts – it has special needs, and that adds to the price tag. As the story notes, outside of HSPVA, the per-student cost for the other high schools is right around the national average. By all means, do the due diligence and make sure we’re getting full value for the dollar, but let’s not lose the forest for the trees here. HSPVA is going to cost more than other schools.