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HISD to Delay WUES Enrollment Limits

March 10, 2015 By:Anne Marie Kilday

Local News, School News

A proposal to limit enrollment at West U Elementary School has been delayed for at least a year, Principal John Threet announced Monday in the school’s newsletter.

At a meeting of the West U PTO Tuesday morning, Threet said that HISD’s plan to cap enrollment at WUES, Twain and Roberts elementary schools “has been delayed for a year. Who knows what will happen by then?”

For now, West U Elementary is "safe" from limits on enrollment, Principal John Threet told the WUES PTO Tuesday.

For now, West U Elementary is “safe” from limits on enrollment, Principal John Threet told the WUES PTO Tuesday.

Threet credited HISD Trustee Mike Lunceford for “encouraging the HISD Officer of School Support to come up with a better plan to address overcrowding at these schools,” in the Pony Express newsletter.

Threet said that parents’ feedback to the enrollment limits also forced the district consider delaying the plan.

At a recent community meeting held by HISD, Threet said that the parent of a student at Mark Twain Elementary complained that the district’s plan to limit enrollment was being announced too late for parents to apply to magnet programs in HISD, or to consider sending their children to private schools.

“I think that was a big factor,” Threet said. “They didn’t leave parents with a lot of options.”

Threet encouraged members of the PTO and all parents of students at West U Elementary to stay informed about the district’s plans.

“I think it behooves everyone to stay informed and to let the district know of any better plans,” Threet said.

HISD announced Tuesday that the board would consider delaying the proposed enrollment limits, at its regular board meeting Thursday at 5 p.m.

The trustees will review a modified proposal that gives all currently enrolled students — and incoming kindergarten students — the option to attend the school to which they are currently zoned. The proposal is an effort to relieve anticipated overcrowding in the coming years and comply with state law, which requires kindergarten through fourth-grade classes to have no more than 22 students per classroom. Classes that exceed that number must request a state waiver.

HISD’s proposal to cap enrollment at some district elementary schools is a result of a decision by the Texas Education Agency to limit “class size waivers” that exempt many elementary classrooms from the state mandated teacher to student ratio of 22 to 1. HISD last year sought 1,500 such waivers for elementary schools. District officials aim to cut that number in half by the 2015-2016 school year, with plans to continue the decrease incrementally through 2019.

Threet said that the enrollment caps had caused “a little panic” for parents with kindergarteners enrolling for the 2015-16 academic year.

There were 114 parents who enrolled their children on the first day of kindergarten enrollment, including one parent who arrived at the school at 3:30 a.m. By the time Threet arrived at his usual time of 5:15 a.m., he said there were five parents lined up outside the school.

“I even had one Mom who was e-mailing me every day from Disney World,” Threet said. “She was considering sending her husband back to Houston to enroll their children in kindergarten next year. So, I was replying to her every day to remain calm,” Threet said.

 

 

 

7 Responses to “HISD to Delay WUES Enrollment Limits”

  1. GoldBacon Says:

    There is a story on the subscription version of Houston Chronicle from the other day where Terry Grier basically called the parents of West University a bunch of racists.

    Speaking about the Rice School/La Escuela Rice, Grier said:

    “It can be a great school and a beautiful facility, and yet some of the folks who live in that community (West University) for whatever reason don’t want to send their kids there,” Grier told the school board Monday. “And the ‘whatever reason,’ quite frankly, may have to do with where some of your magnet kids are coming from. People don’t want to talk about that, but it is what it is.”

    • Brokelyn Says:

      He may not have been implying racism — it may have been a socio-economic observation. You may decide to conflate the two, and perhaps your conclusion is correct, but just to be fair please consider the options. Also consider that the comments have filtered through the lens of a reporter (unless, perhaps, Grier was making air quotes with his fingers when he said “whatever reason”). I’m not defending him, just trying to counter the knee-jerk reaction here to rush to a volatile conclusion.

      For those who wish to know more, I suggest doing as I did and email Grier’s office at hisdsuperintendent@houstonisd.com and make your opinions known and get your questions answered.

  2. Lucille Gallman Says:

    June Begeman’s “Stepping Back In Time” discusses the formation of the West University Place Independent School District. I did not know this. A vote was held in 1928 and the elementary and junior high schools were given to the Houston Independent School District. I lost the first copy of her book but was able to buy another at city hall. Every time I read it, I learn something new. It really is an excellent contribution to past, present and future residents. I don’t know if a West U School District could happen now, but it is interesting to consider.

  3. Lucille Gallman Says:

    Today, I was reading a column in the March 4, 2010 Houston Chronicle, Bayou City History, a blog about Houston’s past with J. R. Gonzales. It caught my attention because it was about John J. Pershing Middle School and how the buildings were next to the elementary school in West U. The new school was built and opened in 1949 which was the Pershing I went to. There were 23 responses from many former students, like me, remembering the new school, etc. I was caught by one comment which reads as follows:
    “Yes, Pershing was originally collocated with West University Elementary. The original Pershing building there is still standing and in use. Both schools were a part of the West University Independent School District before WU residents voted to disband the WUISD and join HISD. WUISD only had the two schools; high school students were sent to HISD high schools under a contract between the districts.”

  4. Brokelyn Says:

    Socialist states? Really? Please turn off your television and think for yourself.

    I love your idea, T. Ferguson. Build more schools.

    • Ted Ferguson Says:

      “Socialist states? Really? Please turn off your television and think for yourself…”

      If you don’t believe that they’re socialist, just look at their economies. California, if it was a country, would be what, the eighth largest economy in the WORLD? It’s dead broke – not from lack of resources, either. NY, NJ, etc., are constantly devising new ways to tax and cover their shortfalls. Any of this information can be easily verified by a few minutes research on the web. Next time you’re stuck in traffic – and you will be greater frequency, look at all of the out of state plates around you. They’re not coming here for our beautiful beach in Galveston, I can assure you of that. They’re coming here for JOBS. As this economy worsens, you can be certain that this area will see a population increase, and Houston isn’t ready for it. West U. has nowhere to go. We’re landlocked, and as heavily zoned as you can get without building giant walls around the city, cutting off the roads through West U., and declaring ourselves an H.O.A. Why people don’t seem to understand that West U. will be affected by this baffles me. The school is only a blip on the radar. Wait until all of the new apartments and condos get built. Crime, traffic, and utilities will all become an issue. I love this city, but some of us need to direct a little bit of that angst that’s built up (and an abundance of free time, apparently) towards the bigger picture. It’s coming.

  5. Ted Ferguson Says:

    So, to avoid backlash from the angry parents, they’re going to let it roll? What about the 22:1 student/teacher ratio? Does anyone really think that the mass exodus from the socialist states up north or out west will stop any time soon? This isn’t going to resolve itself, and if anything, the constant new construction in the area will make it worse. If you build it, they will come.

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