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HISD board to merge exemplary and struggling middle schools

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Three members of the H.I.S.D. school board voted against merging Kaleidoscope charter school with Long middle school

At a meeting in April, the Houston Independent School District Board decided to merge the exemplary-rated Kaleidoscope Charter School with Jane Long Middle School by a vote of 6-3.

The decision was called “horrible” by activists who gathered over 640 signatures in a petition to save the school. At the meeting, 35 supporters in red shirts stood together to urge the school board to not merge Kaleidoscope with what they feel is a struggling middle school.

“Out of all the schools that are currently Exemplary, why would you shut one down?” asked community organizer Fidencio Leija Chavez, Jr. “Instead of embracing it — keeping it intact — they’re wanting to take it apart and dismantle it.”

A coalition of local Latino groups, which included Mi Familia Vota, Familias Inmigrantes y Estudiantes en la Lucha (FIEL), and National Hispanic Professional Organization (NHPO) Leadership Institute sought to keep the school open.

The school board took about ninety minutes to reach their decision after hearing from parents, who were concerned about the quality of education at Jane Long, and students who brought up issues of potential bullying.

“Every opportunity to learn from and empower our community is a win for us. Students, parents and community leaders took a heart-felt stand for quality education and fought to save a successful program in Southwest Houston. That we lost is bitter but that we came together is cause for celebration.” said a press release put out by the coalition.

HISD Trustees Manuel Rodriguez, Juliet Stipeche and Board President Michael Lunceford supported keeping the school open.

Kaleidoscope has just over 100 students, many of which are immigrants.

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