Parents feel 'cheated' after vote to close Dodson Elementary, repurpose Jones HS

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by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 13 at 10:40 PM

HOUSTON -- It was an emotional night at HISD headquarters as the school board got ready to vote on the fate of two of its schools.

The future of Jones High School and Dodson Elementary remained uncertain when parents, concerned citizens and community activists packed a public session meeting.

Dozens of people signed up to vocalize their deep frustration to the school board.

“Jones isn’t failing. We told you that last month, but you still want to euthanize it,” said one man.

The meeting came to a halt on several occasions as trustees attempted to calm the audience.

One man had to be removed from the facility for not keeping quiet as instructed.

After hours of public testimony, the school board voted 6-3 to repurpose Jones High School into Futures Academy, a career training school.

The vote also cut the school’s athletic program all together.

“I think it’s a bag of rocks. They’re making us feel that the school is still open, when in actuality, structurally, they’re still closing the school,” said Loretta Brock.

After the Jones vote, others were still trying to save Dodson Elementary.

“It doesn’t make any sense. Dodson is a high performing school,” said Assata Richards.

The school board voted 5 to 4 to close the school.

Attendees were heard saying “it’s not over”, and some left the facility in tears.

“We did everything they asked us to do, and you’re still closing our schools,” said Darline Houston “What are you going to tell the community when they start running into your house and start breaking into your houses?”

Jones High School students will be rezoned to Worthing High School and Sterling High School and will have priority enrollment access to the newly created school.

Beginning next year, students currently zoned to Dodson will be permanently rezoned to nearby Blackshear Elementary, Lantrip Elementary or The Rusk School. The Montessori program will move to Blackshear Elementary.

“School closure discussions are never easy,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. “However, we must continue to have constructive conversations on the issue of school size and school efficiency. Not to do so could be harmful to our communities and the students that reside in them. The goal remains creating better, stronger schools.”

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