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North Forest Independent School District

North Forest Independent School District (NFISD) was a school district in northeast Houston, Texas. Established in the early 1920s in a low-income white area, it later became majority-black and black-run. The district had a history of financial and academic issues from the late 1980s until 2013. On July 1, 2013, it was closed by order of the state and absorbed into the Houston Independent School District.

In 1991 voters approved an approximately $40 million NFISD bond, and in 1997 another bond, leading to the construction of four schools. On March 1, 1998, the district issued $46.9 million worth of the approved bonds. It used $5 million to refund older bonds at a favorable interest rate and the remainder to construct B. C. Elmore Middle School, East Houston Intermediate School (now Hilliard Elementary School), Keahey Intermediate School (Marshall Early Childhood Center at the time of NFISD closure), and Shadydale Elementary School. In 1999 voters approved another about $40 million NFISD bond.

A February 2007 report by the Texas Education Agency, based on data from 2005 derived mainly from the testimony of school officials, said that Forest Brook High School had no cheating; however, a statistical analysis of two years of Forest Brook TAKS test scores by The Dallas Morning News in June 2007 which examined two years of scores from Forest Brook revealed patterns that the newspaper considered suspicious. In Spring 2007 state monitors supervised TAKS tests at Forest Brook, and passing rates on 11th-grade TAKS tests declined from 2006. In 2008 outside monitors reported poor management at the district and "security violations" related to TAKS testing.
On July 31, 2008, Wayne Dolcefino of ABC 13 KTRK in Houston reported on a several months' investigation of the school district for malfeasance. His discoveries included misappropriation of federal grants by the Special Education Director, Dr. Ruth Watson, who had subsequently been reassigned by the board while retaining her full salary, and that the Vice President of the Board of Education for NFISD, Allen Provost, had a personal relationship with one of the special education teachers.

In February 2013, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams said that the one-year reprieve was over and ordered the closure of North Forest ISD and recommended its annexation by Houston Independent School District by July 1, 2013. Houston Independent School District board members discussed how a takeover might be implemented; Dianna Wray of the Houston Press wrote: "It seemed as if all nine of them were choosing their words carefully, making it clear they were only following state orders." Gayle Fallon, the Houston Federation of Teachers president, stated that HISD could not publicly accept the district since it would appear greedy, nor could it publicly reject NFISD since it would appear to be racist against black people. Fallon argued that HISD saw an economic advantage to absorbing NFISD.

Portions of the NFISD attendance zone were added to the Houston Independent School District trustee zones 2 and 8. The next scheduled board election for those two districts was in 2015. Dianna Wray of the Houston Press wrote that "the voters of North Forest have gone from having an entire board elected directly by them to a situation in which they won't have any say in who represents them for the next three years." Silvia Brooks Williams, a former NFISD board member, said that HISD ignored an effort to add two board seats for North Forest and to give NFISD residents their own HISD representatives.

In 1996 the enrollment at NFISD began a steady decline. The district had 13,132 students in the 1993-1994 school year and 11,699 in the 2001-2002 school year, an 11% decline over a nine-year period. During the 2001-2002 school year, 2,837 students attended the two NFISD high schools, while their combined capacity was 5,875, giving a classroom usage percentage of 48%. On March 18, 2003, the district had 11,217 students, fewer than the expected 11,650. From 1997 to 2007 the student population decreased by 35%, to below 9,000 students.

The school district provided transportation to any elementary, middle, or high school student living over 2 miles (3.2 km) from his or her assigned school. The district may have added .1 miles (0.16 km) to establish a reasonable boundary. It also provided transportation for AM and PM kindergarten students around noon. If students faced hazards (such as construction areas and multilane highways) that prevented safe travel to the assigned schools, the Department of Transportation would decide to allow bus travel for those students.

The district had a fleet of fifty school buses that made 111 runs daily and served about 3,300 students. Including maintenance and service vehicles, the transportation department had a total of 162 vehicles.

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