In The Classroom

HISD could change funding for magnet schools

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Changes could be coming to HISD when it comes to magnet schools. The district is looking for new ways to fund the programs. It is also looking to make changes when it comes to buying laptops for students. The plan is getting a little less ambitious. The school board is meeting later tonight.

Ddozens of parents are expected to attend the meeting, bringing their concerns with them.

Parker Elementary looks like an exclusive private school, but it's actually a magnet school specializing in music.

Parent Celeste Humphries said, "Our neighborhood school doesn't have a music program and that's very important to me."

The Houston Independent School District has 113 magnet schools and about 18 percent of all HISD students attend them. They get about $17 million of extra funding every year. But the problem is how the money is distributed among the schools.

School Services Officer Lupita Hinojosa explained, "Our magnet programs are not being funded equitably, and there are many programs that are underfunded."

Some magnet schools are getting hundreds of thousands of dollars for special programs while others aren't getting any. So district administrators want to create a committee to fix that.

"We're going to be looking at being very specific about the standards that we're setting," Hinojosa said. "We're going to be looking at the accountability measures. We're going to be looking at that funding system."

If the school board approves creating the committee, some magnet schools could get more money, and others could be closed, starting in the 2014 school year. But many parents say whatever happens, they're tired of the uncertainty.

"Why are we even bothering?" asked Humphries. "Is home school a better option, where we are completely in charge of our children's education and whether they take music lessons? We know the teachers here are amazing, they just need better tools."

If the committee is formed, changes are not expected to impact schools until the 2014-2015 school year.

Find Pooja on Facebook at PoojaLodhia-Reporter or on Twitter at @impoojalodhia

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