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Parents protest HISD's plan to rename schools

HOUSTON – Angry parents headed to Houston Independent School District headquarters Wednesday to protest the district's plan to spend millions in public funds to rename eight schools.

HISD is scheduled to vote Thursday night on the exact cost of renaming the schools. The new names are expected to go into effect this school year.

The current names of the schools in question all have ties to the Confederacy.

"We need to sit down and focus as a city and we need to say, 'You know what, Board, let's focus on the children. Stop focusing on yourself. Stop focusing on what's not important. And start focusing on the children. And the only way you're going to do that is if you start spending money on kids, and not buildings and not things that we don't need," one parent said.

HISD released a statement Wednesday that read: "By their nature, the costs associated with renaming the schools are not known precisely when the decisions were made. These are refined over time and HISD administration has presented updated information since before it was served with the lawsuit and will continue to do so in the future.  The court has heard oral argument and testimony over two days in this lawsuit. The parties are submitting briefs to the court this week and next and anticipate a decision soon after.

"The remedy sought by the parties in the lawsuit was to overturn the renaming of the schools. That is clear in their pleadings and in their responses to the Judge's questions in open court. HISD is confident that the estimates provided in the past and in the future do not affect the validity of the Board's action to rename the schools, which it occurred during public meetings this past spring."

The board agreed to rename Johnston Middle School to the Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School; Sidney Lanier Middle School to Bob Lanier Middle School; Lee High School to Margaret Long Wisdom High School; Reagan High School to Heights High School; Jackson Middle School to Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School of Excellence; Dowling Middle School to Audrey H. Lawson Middle School; and Davis High School to Northside High School.