Houston ISD closes 20 magnet school programs

The magnet programs combined enrolled 758 students from outside their attendace zones

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Twenty HISD magnet school programs that are not drawing enough students from outside their neighborhoods will be closed after the 2013-2014 school year, according to HISD officials.

The magnet programs combined enrolled 758 students from outside their attendance zones.

Currently non-zoned magnet students only represent 4 percent of the total enrollment at the 20 schools, which is short of the 20 percent target required by HISD policy.

The percentage of magnet students attending these schools is so small HISD administrators do not expect the decision to eliminate the programs to have a significant impact on enrollment or standardized test scores. 

Shaun McPeters enrolled her 9-year-old daughter at Pleasantville Elementary's magnet program when she was in first grade and has watched her grow by leaps and bounds.

"Her test scores are high,"McPeters said.

Pleasantville has 23 magnet students. There are nine magnet students enrolled at Holland Middle School, right across the street.

"We just don't feel we can put any more magnet money in and spend money on transportation on schools that aren't getting good results," said HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier.

HISD officials say that students who are currently enrolled in magnet programs that are being closed will be allowed to continue to attend those schools until they complete the highest grade level offered at those schools.

The closures of the programs free up $4 million, which HISD officials say will be used for other academic purposes.

HISD is currently phasing out the less popular magnet programs and the district is also adding new magnet programs designed to meet current demand. The new programs have a strong emphasis on science, technology and engineering.

The magnet programs that are being eliminated after the current school year are listed below:

Elementary schools

  • Burbank
  • Elrod
  • Law
  • Pleasantville
  • Wesley
  • West University

Middle schools

  • Attucks
  • Deady
  • Dowling
  • Holland
  • Jackson Key
  • Patrick Henry

High Schools

  • Jones
  • Lee
  • Madison
  • Sharpstown
  • Westbury
  • Wheatley
  • Worthing

In addition to closing the 20 programs, HISD has identified 13 magnet programs that are not meeting the minimum student achievement required to maintain magnet status.

Any of the 13 programs that are now on probation that don't meet requirements this school year will also be phased out, losing half of their funding during the 2014-2015 school year, and all of their funding thereafter.

The 13 magnet programs on probation:

Elementary Schools

  • Crespo
  • Garden Villas
  • Helms
  • MacGregor
  • Pugh
  • Ross
  • Wainwright

Middle Schools

  • Hogg
  • Long

High Schools

  • Kashmere
  • Scarborough
  • Sterling
  • Washington

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