Students show up to school to find no room in classrooms

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Joshua Satterwhite, 6, was excited to start the first grade. He had his bag packed and school supplies ready to go. He and his mom, Annette Satterwhite, showed up at Briargrove Elementary School on San Felipe near the Galleria on Monday morning and were surprised to learn there was no place for Joshua.

"They did tell me we were on a waiting list," Satterwhite said. "But it should have been addressed beforehand."

Satterwhite said she and dozens of other moms and dads waited at the school all day on Monday, hoping to get either a classroom assignment at Briargrove or transfer papers to a nearby overflow school. She got neither.

"What do you do with a child when you pay taxes and there's no place for him and no seat for him?" she said. "It's beyond frustrating."

Satterwhite said she was frustrated the overcrowding wasn't addressed before the first day of school.

"It will be the second day of school tomorrow and I still don't know where we're going to school," she said.

The Houston Independent School District told KPRC 2 News in an email that parents register their students during the summer, but they can't officially enroll until the first day of school. Kids who register after the school reaches capacity are put on a waiting list.

On the first day of school, students who are present are enrolled in the order that they registered. If there are students who don't show up, their slot opens and the school then makes its way down the list.

The process is not new, the district said.

"The only thing we did differently this year is provide early notifications to parents. In previous years, parents would register their kids during the summer, but wouldn't find out the school was full until they showed up on the first day to enroll. This year, parents were notified of potential capping during the registration process," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Satterwhite still doesn't know what school her son will be attending.

"We'll start it again tomorrow and hopefully we'll find out," she said.

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