At North Forest Independent School District, desperate times have led to extraordinary measures.
Facing a state forced merger into Houston ISD, this once deeply troubled, underperforming district has attracted a rare coalition of educational rescuers that just may buy it more time.
"This will be the first. A partnership with public charters and the North Forest Independent school district standing together," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.
And not just any charter schools. The effort to preserve North Forest has drawn together KIPP Academy, Yes Prep and Harmony schools, each laden with academic accolades and track records of success.
"To see three stellar charter organizations come together and hold hands in Houston is highly significant," said Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education.
"North Forest will be put on the map with this program," said Sylvia Brooks Williams, a North Forest trustee.
The emergence of this partnership proposal is critical because North Forest is nearly out of time.
On behalf of a school board that's agreed to relinquish all control, attorney Chris Tritico will ask Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams to sanction a deal with the charters and give North Forest New life.
"I can promise you that moving into the Houston Independent School District will not improve the lives of these children at all and this partnership will do it rapidly and within a year," said Tritico.
With pen and paper, once fierce competitors agreed to become active collaborators in an enterprise that offers great reward, but also carries substantial risk.
"It's a risk that we are willing to take because we think the kids are worth it, the North Forest community is worth it," said Eric Coleman of KIPP.