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State of Texas to Shut Down Houston-Area School District

Troubled Houston-area school district, North Forest Independent School District, will be shut down by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in one year.

The closing, effective July 2012, is being ordered by TEA Commissioner Robert Scott after years of financial and academic problems within North Forest ISD.

According to the TEA’s website, North Forest ISD was rated Academically Unacceptable in the 2008-09 and 2009-2010 school years. The district’s enrollment has also dropped by 9 percent over the past few years, from 8369 in 2007-08 to 7665 in 2009-2010.

The Houston Chronicle reports on the official reasoning for the closure:

Scott said in a letter to the district that the he was revoking the district’s accreditation and shutting it down after the latest student test scores and financial ratings show continued poor performance. The district will be rated academically unacceptable for the third consecutive year, while its lowest high school has earned the lowest rating for six years.

The Chronicle also reports that Commissioner Scott is recommending that Houston ISD take over the area covered by North Forest ISD.  Houston ISD is the one of the largest school districts in the country and the largest in the state.  HISD would grow by an additional 7,000-plus students with the annexation of North Forest ISD.

Taking over and/or shutting down a school or school district is the ultimate action that can be taken by the TEA to fix an ailing campus or district.

The most recent high-profile case of a district being shut down by the State of Texas was the closure of Wilmer-Hutchins ISD, located south of Dallas.  The district was shut down in June 2006 after a cheating scandal with the TAKS test and consecutive Academically Unacceptable ratings for the district.  Wilmer-Hutchins ISD was absorbed into Dallas ISD.

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