Are Traditionally Black HISD Schools Getting Fair Share of Bond Money?

In the African-American community there is deep distrust that those leading the Houston Independent School District will deliver all the new and renovated schools promised in the successful 2012 $1.9 billion  bond proposal.

"To hell with the poor black kids, in the poor black community. You are going to take what we are giving you, which is nothing and you are going to shut your mouth," said Gerry Monroe who leads United Urban Alumni.

  Despite scale backs forced by rapidly escalating costs for labor and materials, HISD insists fears are unwarranted because no project has been cut from its initial 2012 budget.

"The amount of funding budgeted for each of those projects remains the same today as it was on election day," said Holly Huffman, spokesperson for HISD.

State Representative and mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner campaigned for the bonds, but believes those concerned that historically black schools could get shortchanged are completely justified.

"Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Were promises made and not followed through? Absolutely. Did the school District move immediately to close and consolidate schools, when they said to people like myself that that was not going to happen? Yes they did," said Turner.

  Turner blames HISD Superintendent Terry Grier for what he called a "bait and switch" to win black votes.

But mayoral candidate Ben Hall blames Turner for enticing African Americans to vote for the bonds without gaining enforceable guarantees.

"Sylvester Turner was a political panhandler in terms of this bond deal and he did not represent the communities interest well. In fact, he betrayed the community," said Hall.