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North Forest Hearing Brief

North Forest Hearing Brief

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Published by enm077486

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Published by: enm077486 on Mar 20, 2012
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03/20/2012

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TEXASEDUCATIONAGENCYRECORDREVIEWINRE:
§§
CLOSUREOFNORTHFOREST
§§
INDEPENDENTSCHOOLDISTRICT§BEFORELIZETTEREYNOLDSDEPUTYCOMMISSIONERFORPROGRAMSANDSERVICESNORTHFORESTlSD'SPOST-HEARINGBRIEF
COMESNOW,TheNorthForestIndependentSchoolDistrictandfilesthistheirpost-hearingbriefandwouldrespectfullyshowthishonorableHearingOfficerthefollowing:
I.INTRODUCTION
BeginninginMarchof2007andcontinuingthroughthesuspensionandterminationofDr.JohnsoninMarchof2011,individualshand-pickedbyTEAhadtheauthoritytoexerciseanddidexercisecompletecontrolovertheNorthForestIndependentSchoolDistrict("NFISD").annexNFISDtoHoustonIndependentSchoolDistrict("HISD")claimingthedistrictfailedtoTEAnowproposestoassignaperformanceratingofNotAccredited-Revoked,closeNFISDandimprovewhen,intruth,thesefailuresweretheproductoftheomissionsandmalfeasanceoftheindividualsTEAselectedtooverseeandrunthedistrict.TEAissosingle-mindedlyintentuponclosingNFISDthatithasturnedablindeyetothegreatstridestheDistricthasmadesincethereturntotheelectedboardandthehiringofSuperintendentEdnaForte.IfTEAwilljustgive
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dueweighttoallthefacts,includingtheactionsoftheelectedboardandthenewsuperintendent,itmustconcludethatclosingNFISDandannexingtheDistricttoHISDiscontrarytothebestinterestofthechildrenofNorthForest.NotonepersontestifiedthatsendingtheNorthForest
 
childrentoKashmere,oranyotherHISDschool,wouldprovidethechildrenwithabettereducation.Why?Becauseitissimplynottrue.Thehearingexaminerpresidedover2daysoftestimonyandhasbeforeherhundredsuponhundredsofpagesofdocuments.TheevidenceisclearanduncontradictedthattheDistricthasmadeastonishingadvancementsundertheleadershipoftheelectedboardandEdnaForte.TEA'sconservator,KayKarr,feltsostronglyaboutgivingNFISDanopportunitytocontinuethatshecourageouslysatinfrontofherTEAbossesandtestifiedtoexactlythat.IftheHearingExaminer'sdecisionturnsontheeventsthatoccurredbetweenMarch1,2011andNovember11,2011asshehasalreadyruled,ormoreproperlybetweenMarch1,2011andJuly8,2011,thedecisionmustbetoleaveNFISDunderthecontroloftheelectedboardandsuperintendentForte.Inlightofthe25pagelimitationontheparties'closingbriefs,NFISDwillnotrehashtheoverwhelmingevidencethatclearlyshowswhyNFISDshouldbeallowedtodirecttheeducationofthechildrenofNorthForest.Thatevidencespeaksforitself.InsteadNFISDwilltakethisopportunitytoshowthattheCommissioner'sorderofrevocation,closureandannexationcannotwithstandlegalscrutiny.NFISDstandsonitsprehearingbrief,thetestimonyofitswitnessesandthedocumentaryevidencewithoutrestatingithere.
II.
PRELIMINARYMATTERSA.ScopeandPurposeofRecordReview.
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InanattempttoconvincethishearingofficerthatNFISDshouldbeassignedaratingofnotaccredited-revoked,closedandannexedtoHISD,TEAspentthefirstfulldayfocusingoneventsthatoccurredfrom2007through2010-matters,resultingfromtheomissionsofTEA
 
conservators,theTEAsuperintendentandhishand-pickedTEABoardofManagers.Theseeventsareclearlyirrelevanttotheseriousquestionsbeforethishearingofficer.AsDr.ReynoldsruledandthenconveyedthroughMs.Allen,therearethreemattersatissueinthepresentrecordreview:AsInotedbeforewetookourshortbreak,wearehereonthreedifferentpurposes.Oneistheloweringoftheaccreditationratingtonotaccreditedrevokedfromaccreditedprobation;secondly,closureoftheschooldistrict;and,third,annexationtoHoustonIndependentschooldistrict....[B]ecausetheaccreditationstatusisin-aviableissueinthismatter,itseemsrelevanttofocusinonchangedcircumstancesfromMarch1st,2011,whichbythenoticeletterthatwehadindicatesthatNorthForestwasassignedaccreditedprobationtoNovember10th,2011andforward,dependingonwhatisbeingproffered,todemonstratewhynowwehavemovedfromaccreditedprobationtonotaccreditedrevoked....[W]ewouldliketoseeafocusonthechangedcircumstancesandthenreferencestopervasiveness,butnotgothrougheachandeverydocumentthatmightcontaininformationaboutpervasiveness.Indeed,therelevantperiodoftimeisevenmorelimitedthanMarch1,2011throughNovember11,2011.TheCommissioner,on
July
8,2011,wrotetotheNFISDBoardofTrusteesandMs.EdnaFortegiving"advancednotice"thattheDistrictwouldbeassignedaratingofNotAccredited-Revoked,closedandannexedtoHISD.ThetextofthislettermakesitperfectlyclearthatthedecisiontocloseandannexNFISDhadalreadybeenmade.ThepurposeofthisletteristoprovideadvancenoticetotheNorthForestIndependentSchoolDistrict(ISD)regardingthestatusofthedistrictanditsNorthForestHighSchoolcampus.Ihavedeterminednottoorderimmediateclosureofthehighschoolcampus.However,theTexasEducationAgency(TEAoragency)hasdeterminedthat,whenitreleasesratingsonAugust1,2011,boththeNorthForestISDandNorthForestHighSchoolwillberatedAcademicallyUnacceptable(AU),thedistrictforthethird
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