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Tell HISD that You Want Westbury High School to Become a School of Choice and that You support Campus Expansion

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Last year, only 1859 of 4335 students (43%) zoned to Westbury High School (WHS) opted to attend WHS.  On November 13th, the HISD Board of Trustees will be discussing the 2012 bond project scope for Westbury High School in closed session.  Please sign this petition to tell HISD that you support implementing the FULL scope of improvements at WHS that were promised to the community in the 2012 bond package – including expanding the campus size and providing HISD athletic facilities on the new property. 

 HISD has an opportunity to create an incredible 21st century school at WHS with a regional athletic facility having access to the miles of trails at the nearby 300-acre Willow Waterhole Nature Reserve. HISD has put in place an accomplished and passionate principal at WHS and is improving the academic and career offerings. Overcoming perceptions of safety issues, coupled with creating an appealing campus, is paramount to pushing Westbury High School to the next level to become a school of choice for HISD students.

 HISD has already bought 2 of the 4 properties via eminent domain, including the property that is the farthest from the WHS campus.  The properties shown in RED have already been acquired. Now is the time to finish what has been started and fulfill the promises made in 2012 and earlier by HISD.  Completing the promised property acquisitions will bring the WHS campus up to the acreage size that newer HISD and suburban schools are sited on, and will prevent WHS from becoming landlocked like Bellaire and Lamar.  It will also make the campus more visually appealing, reduce safety concerns, and allow the WHS campus to adjoin a research center operated by a major corporation.

 

How am I affected if I don’t have a student at WHS?  Bellaire and Lamar high schools are the two most popular destinations for WHS transfer students, yet both schools are overcrowded and may be facing enrollment caps in the future.  Apartments and homes zoned to schools of choice, such as Bellaire and Lamar, are highly desired.  We believe that WHS is in good position to become a school of choice, which would diminish the enrollment pressures at Bellaire and Lamar while also accelerating the on-going renewal of southwest Houston.

 What would the property be used for? The proposed use is athletic fields and facilities for use by WHS, other schools, field rentals, and possible additional parking.

 What is the history?  Westbury High School was built in 1961 and has had a proud tradition of academics and athletics.  The economic downturn in the 1980s created an unsafe environment around WHS.  The community rallied together in 1984 and for the past 30 years has advocated strongly on behalf of WHS and for improvements in the surrounding area (including the creation of the 300 acre Willow Waterhole Nature Reserve nearby and relocating the Westbury HPD Storefront to Gasmer, across the street from WHS). 

 The kickoff press conference for the 2012 HISD bond election was held in front of Westbury High School because HISD was proud of the changes that it was promising for WHS.  HISD had already acquired, or was in the process of acquiring via eminent domain, two of the four apartment complexes to the east of the high school for expansion of the WHS campus. The 2012 bond package promised more than $40 million dollars for renovations and a partial replacement of the buildings at WHS.  Although this amount seems tiny compared to the 2012 bond allocation proposed for Bellaire High School ($106.7 million dollars) and Lamar High School ($108 million dollars), we were told that additional money was coming to WHS via a portion of the $55.8 million dollars proposed for district-wide land acquisition and the $44.7 million dollars proposed for athletic facility improvements.  In 2012 it seemed reasonable that HISD would follow through on its promises to acquire the two remaining properties that were “book-ended” by land that HISD owned.  As a result, precincts in Westbury overwhelmingly supported the 2012 HISD bond election.  Now in 2014, the promised campus expansion for WHS is at risk.

 What about other apartments near WHS?   WHS has apartments located near the north, south, east, and west sides of its campus.  A campus expansion is proposed only on the east side of the existing campus. There would be no change to apartments on the north, south, or west. Community advocates are investigating ways to help residents who would be affected by a campus expansion. Southwest Houston has tens of thousands of apartment units with thousands vacant.

  What can I do to show my support?  Sign our petition and tell HISD that you want Westbury High School to become a neighborhood school of choice by HISD’s honoring their bond campaign promises. HISD has the opportunity to make Westbury High School and the associated athletic facility a true 21st century school that our zoned children deserve. Encourage others to sign the petition.  You are also welcome to show your support at the public session of the November 13 HISD Board of Trustee meeting. To speak at the public session register by 4:30 p.m. on November 12th at http://www.houstonisd.org/page/32478.

 



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