In 2012 Houston voters approved a Houston Independent School District (HISD) Bond proposal for 1.89 Billion dollars to rebuild 20 schools, including Davis High School. Two years later, the school district blamed rising construction costs for changing their proposed plan for Davis High School to consist largely of repairs and remodeling of the existing building. These proposals which were made to the Project Advisory Team (PAT) of Davis; students and staff as well as community members. This reduction of the plans especially concerning because HISD had used eminent domain to buy and evict residents and businesses on Fulton and Tackaberry Streets, with the rationale that it could be needed for a parking lot with the expansion of the new school.
HISD’s plan for Davis was seen as a broken promise that brought together members of the Jeff Davis Hispanic Alumni Association, Students of Davis, Parents of Davis Student to form the “Davis Leadership Team’ and make sure that the promise to the youth of the Northside was kept. The Davis Leadership Team began meeting, gathering petitions in support of the school (more than 2,000 were collected), and speaking at HISD Board meetings about the need to keep the promise to rebuild Davis. On September 29th HISD had planned to hold a meeting sharing the austere plans for the ‘new’ school. When HISD decided to cancel this meeting, the Davis Leadership Team decided to host a meeting that was attended by more than 100 residents and two school board members, where a detailed accounting of the needs of the school and the lack of commitment of the district to come through on their promises. The meeting was covered by KHOU.
HISD located additional funding for the schools impacted by the low budget and initially proposed dividing it proportionately, which would have yielded an additional 5.68 million dollars for Davis. Thanks to the sustained advocacy of the Davis Leadership Team, and press coverage of the issues Davis faced, HISD issued a second proposal for how to distribute additional funds that would award 19.63 million dollars to fill the construction gap.
With these additional funds HISD is now proposing a two-story Culinary Arts Addition to be built on the location of the current parking lot, the replacement of the 1970 building with a Fine Arts Addition as well as renovations to the main building. These improvements to the school would be very unlikely if not for the civic engagement of residents of Lindale Park and the rest of the Near Northside.
Two important dates coming up at the next PAT meeting on March 7th at 3:45pm in the Davis Library (1101 Quitman St.) and a community meeting on April 7th at 6:30pm where the final schematic for school design will be prevented. Both are open to the public and you are encouraged to attend and help ensure that HISD follows through on a great school for the Near Northside community.
Information from HISD about the bond process at Davis is available online here.