HISD Says No Mas to Foreign-Exchange Students Automatically Getting Into Some Schools

The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts -- a much-esteemed program in the Houston ISD that students all over the district apply for and compete to get into -- this year has five foreign exchange students.

That means, HISD Chief Academic Officer Chuck Morris told trustees at their workshop Monday, that local kids on the waiting list for the school didn't get into those slots. "When we take a foreign exchange student ahead of someone on a waiting list..."

And that's why Superintendent Terry Grier's administration is asking the district's trustees to vote Thursday night to approve a waiver application asking the state to allow HISD to limit the number of foreign exchange students at any one school.

Under the Texas Education Code, public school districts are required to admit any foreign-exchange student who comes through an approved foreign-exchange program. A waiver is allowed "if admission of that student would require domestic students to compete with foreign-exchange students for educational resources," the HISD agenda item says.

HISD would also like to make it a requirement that a foreign-exchange student get advance approval from the principal at the high school he hopes to attend, rather than just showing up at the front door when school starts, Morris said.

The HISD proposal would limit each high school to no more than seven foreign-exchange students. The district does get the normal Average Daily Attendance funding allocation from the state for these students.

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