The Texas Education Agency has ordered the closure of the North Forest Independent School District, which will take effect on July 1. The district will be merged into Houston ISD.
Edna Forté, superintendent of North Forest ISD, released the following statement on Monday:
We at North Forest ISD are disappointed by the TEA's decision to merge North Forest with HISD. Because we truly believe partnering with the charter schools that make up PHILO is the best option for the children of North Forest, we will appeal this decision to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Regardless of the outcome, the faculty and staff will continue to move forward with the transformative work we are doing at North Forest ISD to complete a successful year.
The timing of the announcement comes as North Forest ISD students are participating in state-mandated examinations.
Chris Tritico, attorney for North Forest ISD, will conduct a news conference about the closure at his law office at 1 p.m. Monday.
Commissioner Michael L. Williams, who recommended the closure of North Forest ISD and its annexation into Houston ISD, denied a challenge from North Forest ISD to review Williams' decision, according to a statement released by the Texas Education Agency on Monday afternoon.
After Williams notified North Forest ISD administrators of his formal recommendation on Feb. 7, the TEA allowed North Forest ISD to have one year to demonstrate improvement as of May 2012 in order to meet certain conditions and requirements.
TEA Chief Deputy Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds conducted a record review of North Forest ISD on March 15. She determined that North Forest ISD failed to sufficiently improve the completion rate at North Forest High School and also failed to improve student performance district-wide on statewide assessments, according to the TEA statement released on Monday.
"Throughout this process, the priority has been the students of North Forest and assuring they each receive the quality education they deserve," said Commissioner Williams. "My hope is that today's decision marks the next step toward making that goal a reality."
Reynolds also determined during the record review that North Forest ISD annexation into Houston ISD would not substantially impair the ability of Houston ISD to educate current students or pay its pre-annexation obligations.
North Forest ISD will have the opportunity to appeal the TEA decision to the State Office of Administrative Hearings.