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Fort Bend ISD postpones plans to rezone high schools

Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre last week sent a letter to parents in the school district announcing that the district is postponing plans to rezone high schools until after it has purchased property to build a 12th high school. 

The following is the letter he posted on the district’s website:

Dear Fort Bend ISD Parents and Guardians,

I’m writing to update you on attendance boundary planning in advance of Tuesday night’s Board meeting, as the administration has decided to withdraw our recommendation to make any changes to high school attendance boundaries in the southeast portion of the District.

On Tuesday, we will ask that the Board of Trustees approve the recommended attendance boundaries for Malala Yousafzai Elementary, and we will also present a comprehensive plan related to high schools in the southeast portion of the District that will keep all current attendance boundaries in place for at least the next two school years, while we expedite our plans for the construction of a new high school.

As you are aware, High School 12 was included in the 2018 bond, and through the recent community engagement efforts, it became clear that the community’s desire was to make minimal changes in the short term, prior to the construction of the new school.

Our decision to withdraw our recommendation for high school attendance boundary changes at this time is based on several factors, including the identification of a site for building High School 12 and the Board’s desire to take immediate action to secure the site. This provides a more clear path forward and will enable the drawing of boundaries for the new high school and minimize the disruption to students of rezoning to balance enrollment and rezoning again to open High School 12.  Our decision was also informed by the Board’s discussion at Monday’s Board Workshop, where they expressed concerns about how frequent rezoning affects our students and communities and the need to provide more long-term solutions for high school programming and building utilization.

During Tuesday’s Board meeting, we will ask the Board for authorization to negotiate the purchase of an 80 acre-tract of land, and will share more about how we are aggressively pursuing options that could lead to an earlier opening of HS 12, in the 2022-23 school year, instead of the 2024-25 school year. While we will not recommend any action to change high school attendance boundaries at this time, the board will have the authority to discuss and possibly take action on changes, should they see fit.

More information about these plans will be shared with the Board on Tuesday night, and, at the same time, we will also share a thorough overview of our plans to expand programming at Marshall High School and Willowridge High School, as set forth in the 2018 Facilities Master Plan. We have heard concerns regarding the long-term investments in these schools to assure improved student achievement and increased building utilization, and I can see where we have fallen short in effectively engaging these communities in the planning efforts thus far. While we are asking for the approval of Early College and P-TECH programs at WHS, MHS and HHS, we will continue to work with our school communities to determine what other programming options could benefit our students.

In closing, I want to acknowledge how appreciative I am that the community has joined with us in this journey. I am very aware that considering boundary changes is not easy, but we have committed to doing so with our community in a way that honors the engagement process and is responsive to the expectations set forth by our community and the leadership of our Board of Trustees.

I wish you a safe and relaxing weekend.

Sincerely,

Charles Dupre

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