Houston Independent School District board members have voted to close Ryan Middle School in Houston's Third Ward.
HISD has decided to consolidate Ryan with Cullen Middle School. Students currently zoned to Ryan will be permanently rezoned to nearby Cullen Middle School beginning this summer.
The plan will allow Ryan to be repurposed as a magnet school designed to attract students from throughout the city. Ryan would become the Medical and Health Professions Academy at Ryan Middle School. This district-wide magnet middle school would seek to prepare more students to compete for admission into the highly-selective DeBakey High School for the Health Professions.
Dozens of parents have expressed their opposition to close Ryan.
"I think its ridiculous because this is a historical landmark, and its been here. I went here, my wife went here and we decided to send our daughter here. And for them to close it down, it really doesn't make any sense at all," Cory Wilson said.
Thursday night with a 5-3 vote, the HISD board decided Ryan had to close. The district made it clear the school will shut down and consolidate with Cullen Middle School because of its low enrollment.
HISD middle schools with fewer than 750 students are considered too small. Ryan has 263 students. Because of the low student enrollment, HISD officials said the school does not have the adequate funds to run efficiently. Board members said by combining student bodies, the larger schools will have additional funding needed to offer a stronger variety of academic course offerings and other services to students.
Wilson, who said his 12 year-old daughter is an honor roll student at Ryan, wants the district to consider what the school means to the community.
"This is a major asset to this community, and I feel that the founders would have a major problem with it," said Wilson.