Montrose's Wharton Elementary School To Stay Open, For Now

The Houston school board may decide the fate of Wharton Elementary this week, and after a bit of a scare from a misinformed e-mail blast, the news is good.

The board is voting to take Wharton off the list of schools to be closed. For now.

An e-mail blast that went out to members of the group Friends of Wharton delivered the wrong message earlier this morning, claiming HISD was trying to pull a fast one by slipping a motion to close Wharton on the agenda at the last minute.

In fact, superintendent Abe Saavedra met with Wharton leaders Friday and informed them of the decision to keep the elementary open.

But, given the sometimes ugly controversy over what to do with the school, a little suspicion on the part of the parents or Wharton supporters is perhaps justifiable.

The charming 85-year-old school sits -- unfortunately for its future -- near the corner of West Gray and Waugh, a commercially valuable site in Montrose. Think cookie-cutter townhome/condos with some yuppified street-level retail, which is precisely what that area of town needs, if you think that area of town should continue its rapid descent into hellish mediocrity.HISD superintendent Abe Saavedra has been dickering back and forth on the school's future, part of a larger plan to consolidate schools with low enrollments.

Update: We've gotten our hands on the actual agenda item, which wasn't part of the online agenda posted on HISD's website. It does seem pretty clear that Wharton is safe, for now (We've also scrubbed the text of the panic-inducing e-mail blast):

This board item seeks approval to remove Nathaniel Q. Henderson Elementary School and William H. Wharton Elementary School from the list of potential school closures. Additionally, it is recommended that relocation of the Wharton ES dual language program also be removed from the 2007 Facility Capital Plan. This item does not limit the need to consider the closure of either school should conditions warrant such a recommendation in the future.

-- Richard Connelly

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