Despite some legal uncertainty, they pretty much have to keep moving forward.
The Houston Independent School District moved forward Wednesday with its takeover of the beleaguered North Forest school system even as state education officials prepare for a Thursday hearing that could delay the annexation.
HISD Superintendent Terry Grier announced principal assignments as well as changes in the use of some campuses. Parents were notified of the changes by mail earlier in the week.
The Texas Education Agency, citing decades of academic failures and financial mismanagement, in May ordered that North Forest ISD close and be annexed to HISD by July 1. Two weeks ago, a visiting judge in Austin, Jon Wisser, issued a temporary restraining order against the state agency at the request of North Forest supporters.
The supporters will go before Wisser again Thursday to request a temporary injunction. The restraining order is set to expire Friday.
“Until a judge orders otherwise, we have an obligation to continue proceeding as though (TEA) Commissioner Williams’ order for HISD to annex North Forest on July 1 will remain in effect,” said HISD spokesman Jason Spencer.
However, a federal issue dealing with voting rights must be resolved before the takeover is finalized. The Houston ISD board will need to redraw voting districts. The board will discuss how to incorporate North Forest voters into its single-member districts at its meeting Thursday, Spencer said.
HISD has scheduled community meetings June 25 and June 27 to share information and receive feedback from North Forest parents about the transition.
The meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Eden Event Center, 7540 N. Wayside.
See here and here for the latest news. I have not yet seen an account of the HISD board meeting, so I don’t know what they decided to do about redistricting. On Friday afternoon, a district judge in Austin dismissed that lawsuit filed by North Forest against the TEA, for which visiting Judge Visser had granted a temporary restraining order, so that’s one more obstacle cleared. North Forest will appeal the dismissal, and there’s still the matter of the Justice Department, but it’s getting close to impossible to imagine an outcome in which the annexation does not move forward as planned at this point.