HISD votes to close Dodson Elementary, repurpose Jones High

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

HOUSTON - The HISD Board of Education voted 6 to 3 to keep Jones High School open but to turn it into a specialized Futures Academy. 

According to the district, that means students can fulfill graduation requirements while earning industry certifications, college credits and an associates degree. The school's athletic program will be eliminated. Current Jones students who do not wish to stay at the newly created school will be rezoned to Worthing and Sterling High Schools.

Parents who spoke to Local 2 had mixed reactions and many of them realized that without this compromise Jones would have closed completely.

"I think the program will work because we have the community behind the people now. They're organized and united," said Terry Davis.

Dodson wasn't as lucky. The board voted 5 to 4 to close the elementary school. Beginning next year students will be rezoned to nearby Blackshear, Lantrip or The Rusk School. The Montessori program will move to Blackshear.

Parents were upset by the decision.

"The perception of HISD right now is that our children don't mean nothing and they want their elite children to be on the property and our children can go wherever they feel is necessary and that's not fair," said Darline Houston, whose son is in the pre-K program at Dodson.

"School closure discussions are never easy," HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. "However we must continue to have constructive conversations on the issue of school size and efficiency. Not to do so could be harmful to our communities and the students that reside in them."

School district officials originally proposed closing five HISD schools.

Nathaniel Q. Henderson and Port Houston Elementary Schools and Fleming Middle School were saved.

"Our proposals for Jones and Dodson incorporated the feedback we heard from the stakeholders and we will count on them to work with us as we execute the plans the board approved today," Grier said.

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