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HISD board approves $1.2 million to rename schools

HOUSTON – The Houston Independent School District held a board meeting Thursday to decide how much it will cost the district to change the names of schools with Confederate ties.

The approved changes will cost around $1.2 million. Some parents and taxpayers are upset, saying that's money that could be better spent on things like books, school supplies and re-hiring special education employees.

A group of concerned parents filed a lawsuit against HISD with the hopes of stopping the renaming of the schools, saying their vote was illegal.

The district maintains it is confident that the estimates provided in the past and future do not affect the validity of the boards actions to rename the schools.

The new names are expected to go into effect this school year.

The board agreed to rename Johnston Middle School to 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. 

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."