CEP About to Shrink to One Campus, If HISD Trustees Say A-OK

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Updated: With comments from board agenda meeting at end of story.

Community Education Partners will shutter its Ferndale campus as a result of an amended contract calling for it to receive $1.8 million less a year from the Houston ISD pending approval by the district's board of trustees.

Superintendent Terry Grier is recommending the decreased amount at today's school board agenda review. It will then be voted on at Thursday's school board meeting. The privately-owned alternative education program is designed for students who run afoul of the district's regulations and who are sent there from their home schools.

CEP will continue to operate its Beechnut facility. HISD will pay CEP about $11.9 million for 1,000 students -- down from the 1,200 student spots (and about $14 million contract) guaranteed this year. Additional students would cost $63.50 per student per day.

Since its start in the 1997-98 school year, CEP has been a target of criticism in the district from people who consider it a dropout factory, saying it does a poor job of educating students.

In a 6-1 vote last June, HISD trustees voted to approve an extension of CEP, although Grier had talked about discontinuing the contract. Only Anna Eastman voted against continuing with CEP.

Hair Balls will update with any comments from today's agenda meeting.

Update: Grier said CEP had made a lot of positive changes in its program since the board last renewed its contract. But one area that remains problematic, he said, is attendance, although he quickly pointed out that it's no better than the record these students have at their home schools.

Chief Financial Officer Melinda Garrett said CEP has been running at about 800 kids at a time this year. Grier said that "no one on staff has told principals not to send students to CEP," but that there has been a decrease from some of the nine middle and high schools involved in the Apollo 20 project for low-performing schools.

Later in the discussion of extending Apollo 20 to 11 elementary schools next fall -- also to be voted on Thursday night -- Grier said that some of the cost savings at CEP could be used for the 11 Apollo 20 elementaries.

Trustee Anna Eastman objected to this, saying that she thought any CEP savings should go back to the districts sending CEP their kids and not be restricted to the Apollo elementaries.

"These are our lowest performing school sand they have been ignored," Grier responded. He said if the money didn't come from there, it would need to come from somewhere to provide for the extra needs at these turnaround schools.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.