This article caught my eye because the neighborhood involved (Northgate Forest) is similarly named to our old neighborhood (Northgate Crossing). When you say “Northgate” in Houston people usually assume Northgate Forest. When I would tell someone we lived in Northgate Crossing people would give me a look like “la-te-dah” because it is a nice neighborhood.

Anyway, this article is about people in Northgate Forest who think they are better than everyone else and can just choose whichever school district they want. Petie and I moved partially because we didn’t like the Spring school district – maybe we should have tried to have the neighborhood annexed by The Woodlands (Conroe ISD) instead. 😉

Full article is below (for when the Chronicle archives it)


Spring ISD refuses to cut Northgate loose

Homeowners in a posh Spring subdivision have lost round one of their battle to join the wealthier, better-performing Klein Independent School District.

The Spring school board on Thursday unanimously rejected a petition signed by 190 Northgate Forest residents to separate the area from the predominantly minority district and be annexed to Klein ISD.

The board’s attorney, Janet Horton, ruled the petition did not meet the requirements of a little-known provision in state law that allows detachment.

The assessed value of the relatively small subdivision — $92.5 million, about 1 percent of the district’s tax base — was too much for the district to lose, especially considering that only seven students from Northgate are currently enrolled in Spring schools, according to the district.

Another option

School board President Mel Smith blasted the petition’s chief supporter, Tom Matthews, for wasting the district’s time, belittling its teachers and pitting rich against poor.Matthews agreed the petition did not meet legal requirements, but said that parents in the subdivision simply don’t want their children to attend Spring schools.

After the vote, Matthews said he’s unsure whether he’ll pursue his fight by asking the Klein school board to vote to accept Northgate Forest.

“I may not want to bother Steve,” he said of Klein’s board president, Steve Szymczak.

If he does, and Klein rejects the petition, the issue is dead. But if Klein approves, the petitioners can appeal to State Commissioner of Education Shirley Neeley.

Larry Allen, vice president of the Klein board, said this week that he was unsure how he or his colleagues would rule.

”Whatever Spring does, Spring will do,” Allen said. ”Klein will make its decision independent of what the Spring board does.”

Rulings can vary

Neeley’s eventual ruling is also unpredictable. The Texas Education Agency typically hears one detachment and annexation case a year, and the rulings vary, according to spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe.Matthews, a 63-year-old businessman whose youngest child graduated from Spring ISD about 15 years ago, also led the effort in 2005 that defeated Spring’s $385 million bond referendum.

Over the last decade, more minority students and more children from low-income families have moved into the Spring area.

Today, about 23 percent of the students in Spring are white, compared with 49 percent in Klein.

And more than half the students in Spring are low-income, compared with 30 percent in Klein.

W. Robert Houston, who directs the Institute for Urban Education at the University of Houston, said Spring’s approval of the petition would have set a bad precedent.

”It sends the message that any other subdivision, any other block, maybe any other family, could move to another school district with impunity,” he said.