Houston ISD to vote on budget, magnet school funding at meeting

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 10:51 PM

HOUSTON – The Houston ISD Board is meeting Thursday afternoon to vote on a controversial new funding proposal for their magnet school programs.

It is interesting because the district says it is not cutting anything – just moving existing money around. However, what many parents don’t get is why the district moving money around at a time when it has surplus money left over.

The board’s decision could mean significant funding losses at 41 schools around HISD if their magnet school funding is moved to other campuses with similar programs.

“I have cool friends and I have nice teachers,” said seventh-grader Asad Ebrahim.

Elana Oliveria will be a fifth-grader at TH Rogers School.

“I really enjoy working with the kids with special needs,” she said.

Responses like that are exactly what makes parents of students at TH Rogers School wonder.

“Why mess with a good thing. That is a very special program,” said Rogers PTO President Sadaf Ebrahim.

TH Rogers has the Vanguard program for high performing students, but also is a specialized campus for deaf children and for physically and mentally-disabled students.

Under HISD’s magnet school funding reallocation programs, TH Rogers stands to lose nearly a $1 million.

“There is nothing like it and HISD should be replicating it and investing in it and this is the No. 1 school in Texas, so obviously this is a successful program,” Ebrahim said.

The district said by moving money to other magnet programs that is exactly what it is trying to do.

“We are not cutting, deleting, removing, any of our overall magnet funds and all the magnet line stays the same,” said HISD spokesperson Sheleah Reed.

It is a tough sell to the families at TH Rogers.

“One of our biggest concerns is that the higher-ups at HISD have not visited these schools,” said TH Rogers parent Rebecca Oliveria.

“I don’t really like the sound of it at all,” said her daughter Elena, who testified last week before the school board. “In my opinion, if they are going to cut a lot of money from our school, they should visit and they should really see what they are going to take away from.”

No matter where that money is going.

The board is expected to vote on both the overall $1.74 billion budget and the magnet proposal at Thursday night’s meeting.

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