THIRD WARD RESIDENTS PROTEST HISD PROPOSAL TO CLOSE HISTORIC SCHOOL The steps in front of Ryan Middle School were the site of a rally yesterday in protest of an HISD proposal to close and consolidate the historic Third Ward school. HISD says the proposal calls to move students to Cullen Middle School on Scott St. because of low enrollment at Ryan, shown at right, which opened on Elgin St. when Yates High School moved to a new location in 1958. But teevee reporter Demond Fernandez says that the protestors see it “as a pattern of closing schools in predominately African-American communities. . . . And they say if HISD trustees move to pass a decision like that tonight, they may be prepared to go to court.” [abc13] Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Maybe these ‘concerned’ parents need to make an honest assessment of why well over half of the zoned students’ parents send them to other schools.
Why would you even finance a middle school with a population of less than 300? Financially it doesn’t make sense? I am sure they don’t have a full or part time nurse, librarian and other personnels that a well populated school has.
Another notable, related event…HISD also just shut down and moved Lockhart Elementary, formerly on Southmore just west of Scott, and combined it with Turner Elementary across 288 in the Museum District. The old Lockhart building is also historically significant, since it began as a Jewish synagogue, then was converted the the school once integration and block-busting occurred in the 1950’s. The entrance still has menorah decorations. I drove by last week and noticed for sale signs put up by HISD for that campus.
The fact is this has nothing to do with racism. It’s due to the changing demographics of the area. This neighborhood is full of elderly and young professionals. Very few families there have children, and many of those that do send their kids to magnet schools or private schools. The whole idea of “predominantly African-American communities” is going away – along with the perceived discrimination against them. People are moving next to each other more and more, and neighborhoods like the 3rd Ward are rapidly integrating. The great thing is, this time it’s not just a dichotomy between black and white, but rather it includes Hispanics, Asians, Indians, Africans, Europeans, and a whole host of other ethnicities. And IMHO it’s about time we all learn to live together and just get along.
HISD needs to get out of the real estate business and set themselves up as a 40 year build to suit lease with AA credit and 10 year options to the end of time, thus allowing private development to be holding the bag in year 41 if the neighborhood has turned and students have migrated elsewhere.
Oh, they haven’t? Still top notch? Great, we renew, and will again in 10 years.
Hell, the deal would/could even include mandatory capital infusion from the developer (or assigns, sells) upon exercise of option!
Why am I not in charge? I welcome people to explain the downside of this idea, truly. I’ve been unable to see it, myself.
Oh, and if the peanut gallery tries saying that there would be a developer on the planet who wouldn’t jump on a 40 year lease commitment build to suit with an HISD guaranty is just lying. If HISD defaults on the rent, first of all we should all be stocking up on shotgun shells and bottle water, but more over IF they default the developer has permanent debt, favorable loan terms, and can easily shop the market to backfill with any number of learning institutions who would be licking their chops to get that deal.
HISD probably gets a benefit from being tax exempt on land that it owns; privately held land it rented wouldn’t have that advantage (though it might still make more long-term sense).
Superdave, I didn’t know Lockhart had closed. We just moved from that area (zoned to Lockhart and Ryan) to Bellaire. One of the main reasons was because of the schools over there. After living in the 3rd ward area for 10 years off and on, it just became finally clear to us that the majority of people living in that area could care less about the good of the neighborhood. You can see it instantly in the trash everywhere and careless dumping and then in cases like this, where the people who even have school age kids in that neighborhood are sending them elsewhere. Why should HISD keep schools open that don’t have the support they need to be good places to be? The district is not the only influence in how good the school is-it’s the teachers and the parents who create a positive environment, regardless of whatever district is behind it.
The lease idea is nice, but unworkable. There is no such thing as a 40 year lease with a governmental agency as all such leases are subject to annual appropriations and cancelable if the appropriations are not budgeted.