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HISD tweaks its bond proposal

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier presents Bond Referendum 2.0 for your approval.

Terry Grier

Grier’s amended proposal adds five high schools to a list of 20 that would get new buildings or partial replacements. The additions, originally slated for smaller renovations, are Davis, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Barbara Jordan, and the Young Men’s and Young Women’s schools.

Grier also reduced the size of several high schools, acknowledging that demographic data and enrollment trends should have been reviewed in more detail earlier.

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To help fund the new schools, Grier’s revised plan excludes four elementary campuses that were in his original: Condit, Kelso, MacGregor K. Smith and Tijerina.

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Bellaire and Lamar high schools, among the most popular in the district, would be rebuilt to hold 3,100 students – 100 more than originally planned. Both campuses enroll even more students now, though in smaller buildings.

Grier said the principals at Bellaire and Lamar would have discretion to cap enrollment – which could limit the number of students allowed to transfer into the two schools.

Wilson Montessori landed on Grier’s revised list, joining four other campuses that would be expanded to serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

No board members have pledged publicly to oppose the bond issue, but Juliet Stipeche, Greg Meyers and Anna Eastman said Thursday they have concerns about the proposal. Manuel Rodriguez Jr. has aggressively questioned it.

Trustee Harvin Moore said he supports the plan, and Rhonda Skillern-Jones declared herself close to backing it. Larry Marshall has praised the plan repeatedly, and Paula Harris has expressed no strong reservations.

You can see the full proposal here. I don’t have any strong feelings about this. I’m predisposed to support these issues, I just want to know that everyone who has a stake in it feels like they’ve been heard. There’s still some work to be done on that front, apparently. First, though, the trustees need to be happy with it. I suspect there may yet be another tweak or two to come.

UPDATE: The Leader has more.

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