Like a marathon game of musical chairs abruptly dismantled, the number of schools recommended for closure in the Houston ISD has been whittled back down to four.
Heartfelt pleas aside, McDade Elementary along with Rhoads, Grimes and Stevenson elementaries will shut down before the fall 2011 semester -- if on May 12, school board members approve the latest proposal from HISD superintendent Terry Grier. All have been judged too small for their own -- and their students' -- good.
What's interesting about Grimes is that back in February when the trustees were debating whether to add another 11 schools to the save-our-low-performing schools Apollo 20 project for the next year and there was some discussion about not doing that many schools or exchanging some lower-performing schools for those initially chosen, board member Greg Meyers made a persuasive argument that board members shouldn't be messing with the schools chosen for the project -- and that if they did and anything went wrong, then board members should be held accountable.
But it appears the Apollo 20 schools will change now. Or diminish in number?
At one point the number of schools destined for merger or closure surged to 17, but in the end, the administration decided to step back -- at least for now -- from something that sweeping.
The only school that got good news in this latest round of information was Love Elementary in the Heights, whose residents turned out at the last board meeting to argue that their school was growing and was crucial to the community.
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The plan is expected to save HISD close to $1.7 million in the 2011-2012 school year. According to an HISD press release:
The small schools closing under the proposed changes include:
McDade Elementary (current enrollment of 272 students) would close. Students currently zoned to McDade would be redistributed among Paige, Cook and Kashmere Gardens elementary schools.
Rhoads Elementary (current enrollment of 320 students) and Grimes Elementary (current enrollment of 380 students) would close. Those students would attend the Woodson pre-kindergarten through 8th grade school.
Stevenson Elementary (current enrollment of 357 students) would close. Students would be redistributed to Memorial and Love elementary schools.
Other small schools would receive more students under the plan:
Burrus Elementary (current enrollment of 390 students) would receive some students currently zoned to Roosevelt Elementary. Roosevelt would then receive some students from Herrera Elementary, which is currently exceeding its capacity.
Houston Gardens Elementary (current enrollment of 362 students) would receive some students currently zoned to Cook Elementary. Some students currently zoned to Cook already live closer to Houston Gardens. The loss of Cook students to Houston Gardens would be offset by the arrival of students from McDade.