Parents upset HISD's new budget could cut magnet, vanguard programs

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - During Houston ISD's budget workshop Thursday, the group plans to revise its plans for magnet and vanguard program funding. But parents fear the current plan will cut programs that make the students and the district successful. 

Parents say one reason they send their students to schools like Kolter Elementary School is the programs that are offered. But they fear that budget cuts could mean some of those programs are cut.

If you step inside Kolter Elementary in southwest Houston, you might be surprised by what you hear.

"We have Mandarin Chinese, French and Spanish being offered to students here," said Ed Wolff.

Wolff's twin 9-year-olds attend third grade at Kolter. He fears proposed HISD budget cuts could mean the end of Kolter's language program. 

"I'm concerned that the administration doesn't actually know what is going on in the classroom. It's a line item in a budget that's not being considered as actual lives being changed on a daily basis," Wolff said.

Cuts to magnet and vanguard programs would save HISD more than $3 million.

In a statement, the district says it looks at the best way to spend its money, saying in part, "Over the years, how individual magnet programs are funded has raised questions about equity and transparency. With that in mind, administration evaluated several potential ways to address these concerns and presented a proposed new magnet funding formula to the board on April 24."

At Kolter, parents hope administrators know dollars and sense.

"I think the dollars have to stay where they are making a difference," said Wolff.

The school district says this is just a workshop to talk about the budget. Nothing is final yet.

We will let you know what is presented at Thursday's budget workshop. Since it is a workshop, the board will not vote on any proposal.

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