At last week's school board meeting as parents, children, teachers and politicians lined up to protest the Houston ISD administration's plan to shutter five schools, Superintendent Terry Grier was not at his usual place at the podium -- instead he was at the annual conference of the American Association of School Administrators. In Nashville.
As the protests continue to build -- no surprise here; school closings however necessary they might be are never a popular item with the public -- Grier has left town again.
In the tweet sent out yesterday, Grier mentions the district's new program to put laptop computers in the hands of thousands of kids. He's doing this from Paris (not the town in Texas, either).
Discussing HISD's PowerUp Initiative with International audience at UNESCO Conference. Tech challenges and benefits are similar world-wide.
— Terry Grier (@tgrierhisd) February 18, 2014
Houston City Councilman Jerry Davis is one of many people who wantsGreer and his administration to reconsider their proposal at least as far as Nathaniel Q. Henderson, a Fifth Ward school, is concerned.
Davis says he wants the city and the school district to work together because there are several projects underway including the renovation of an apartment complex right next to the school targeted for closure.
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"We feel that if you change the scenery, change the complex, then you have an opportunity to bring in more families," Davis says. He says the infrastructure is already in place in the area and that by working together the city and HISD can make the area more desirable and no schools should have to close.
"It's a case of supply and demand," Davis says. "My job is to supply you with the kids and my demand is to keep the school open."
The school board plans to vote on closing these five schools: Three elementaries -- Dodson, Nathaniel Q. Henderson and Port Houston -- Fleming Middle Schools and Jones High School. The school district has said these campuses don't have enough kids in attendance to justify continuing the schools.
State U.S. Rep. Gene Green also issued a statement today voicing his opposition to closing Port Houston Elementary. In that statement it said that on Monday "hundred of parents, former students and neighbors flocked to a school board hearing at Port Houston elementary to speak out against the closure."
A series of community meetings have been held and a final recommendation to the board is expected on February 20.