February 13, 2014
Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees and Terry Grier, Superintendent
4400 West 18th Street
Houston, TX 77092-8501
Dear Board Members and Superintendent Grier:
On behalf of the members and participants of the Community Partnership Exchange Breakfast, Charity Productions service areas, taxpayers those that voted for and those that voted against the bond we are making an unusual request based on current unusual circumstances to have an immediate halt to the process that would lead to the closing of any HISD school. We are requesting that Dr. Grier is fired or resign immediately. We are requesting an accounting of all school closings records at the districts expense, to be made available by the end of February 2014, to a team of subject matter experts selected by various groups currently protesting the actions of HISD. If these request will not be honored in a timely fashion or a written response with a framework to accomplish these requests are not provided within the next 72 hours, we will be forced to exercise our options constitutional and otherwise. Filing the appropriate forms with the civil rights divisions to request Oversight, policy review and audit of HISD immediately by the Justice Department, the Department of Education and the Texas Education Agency. By giving you this notice of our intent and lack of confidence in the district’s decision making the process at this time by repeatedly skewing data with in-house peer reviews negatively impacting African American and Hispanic populations with discriminatory policies that result in counterproductive outcomes for both communities particularly closing of schools. (Low graduation rates, high drop and truancy rates) Dr. Grier and Board, you are well aware of the positive benefits of communities and schools working together, and yet you are working in the opposite direction. According to Robert D. Putnam, Professor’s book “Better Together” the district should rethink all closures as well as proposed.
Below are some additional points for our requests:
WE would like for you to resign immediately without a buyout package based on your discriminatory practices, poor performance, and academic leadership. (Integrated Technology – Instructional Resources diverted)
WE would like you to resign in light of the poor fiscal accountability related funds not being applied and moved to other accounts (Grimes Elementary for one example) (Apollo)
WE would like you to resign in light of the second round of assaults you are proposing for additional school closing specifically targeting African American and Hispanic schools.
WE would like you to resign in light of the recommendations from former Senator Mario Gallegos not to approve any of your recommendations for changes in the schools.
WE would like you to resign in light Ryan Middle school bait and switch with African American Students that are zoned and only 11% being accepted into the renamed school.
WE would like you to resign in light of the HISD advertising to the public – vote for a new Jones High, and now you are proposing to close Jones High School based on low enrollment. (the low enrollment was created by the district by removing a high performing program therefore contributing or causing the low enrollment)
WE would like you to resign in light of the discriminatory practices with African American architects, vendors and contractors related to the bond projects.
WE would like you to resign in light of the contrived, staged and non-productive community meetings that you host without any independent assessment of the districts use of the information collected at those meetings.
We would like you to resign in light of the appearance of a conflict of interest with board members/superintendent with vendors and change orders cost overruns. (assessments)
Enclosing Dr. Grier and Board the community has afforded you much latitude to advance positive programs that could develop positive outcomes that would demonstrate positive leadership and growth in the area of education. No amount of national awards can remove the direct assault that you have initiated, and the board has allowed your short-sighted policies have a cascading negative impact injected into the life of communities throughout, Houston.
Charles X White, Executive Director – Convener of the Community Partnership Exchange Breakfast
Sunny Side/South Park Super Neighborhood, President
Texas Education Agency Commission Michael Williams, Commissioner William B. Travis
Building 1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas, 78701
U.S. Department of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education
400 Maryland Avenues,
SW Washington, D.C. 20202
The United States Justice Department Eric Holder, Attorney General
950 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, DC 20530-0001