HISD Could Consider Closing Dozens of School

The Houston School District floats an idea that could mean the closure of dozens of campuses that don't have enough students. As Jack Williams reports, although only a vague option right now, the move could save HISD millions of dollars.

The district calls it "rightsizing" and is asking the school board to at least consider looking at 66 campuses that have low enrollment. This is HISD's Jason Spencer.

"It's our process for making sure that all students have equal access to a high quality education. What we're trying to determine is what size the school needs to be, (and) how big does the school need to be to provide that to the students who are there."

For the district, it's a simple case of economics. The state funds HISD based partly on enrollment at individual schools. If a school doesn't have enough students, HISD gives the campus a subsidy, which costs the district millions of dollars a year.

"In light of that, will these schools be able to continue to receive subsidies? How much should that subsidy be? But right now, no decisions have been made on that and that's all what we're asking the board to come back to us as the administration and outline their priorities and for how they want the administration to handle those subsidies."

Spencer stresses the rightsizing concept is just one way the district could save money and is by no means a formal proposal or plan. Gayle Fallon is with the Houston Federation of Teachers and says the school board seems reluctant to move forward with the idea.

"One of the things that the board members know is that if you want to meet an entire community, go in and try to close a school. Particularly if the community doesn't agree. They will all be there."

HISD is expecting a funding cut from the state when the Comptroller's office releases revenue projections next month.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...