Katy Independent School District

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Katy Independent School District Or KISD
KatyISD-logo-2021.jpg
Location
Katy, TX, Fulshear TX
Katy, Texas
United States
District information
TypePublic
MottoBe the Legacy
GradesPre-K – 12
EstablishedFebruary 25, 1919 [1]
SuperintendentKenneth Gregorski
Schools74 [2]
BudgetUS$1.108 billion (2021-22)[2]
NCES District ID4825170[3]
Students and staff
Students88,693 [2]
Teachers5,603 [2]
Staff11,018 [2]
Student–teacher ratio15.83
Other information
Websitewww.katyisd.org
Leonard E. Merrell Center
Katy School 1899-1909 Elementary School 1909-1927
Katy High School building 1909-1947
Elementary School addition 1927-1951

The Katy Independent School District (KISD) is a public school district based in Katy, Texas, United States with an enrollment of over 85,700 students. As of August 2009, the district was rated as "Recognized" by the Texas Education Agency.[4]

The district serves 181 square miles (469 km2) in parts of Harris County, Fort Bend County and Waller County. Most of the district lies within the boundaries of the City of Houston, the City of Katy or their municipalities' extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). Unincorporated areas in Katy ISD include Barker, Cinco Ranch, and Cimarron.[5]

All residential areas of the district are assigned to an elementary school, a junior high school, and a high school by subdivision.

History[edit]

During the 2004–2005 school year Katy ISD began a new and revolutionary program in the history of the district, with the use of random drug testing for all individuals involved in UIL competitive organizations, student leaders of any official school clubs, and anyone wishing to park on campus.[6] This caused much controversy prior to its instatement. Many parents complained to the school district, citing the new policy as the violation of individual rights. The district responded to this by having every student who wished to participate in the said activities sign a waiver granting the school district to test them randomly. This matter had already been settled by the Supreme Court of the United States as constitutional before KISD chose to implement it.[7]

In 2015 two sections of Thornwood, two and three, currently served by KISD, proposed being removed from KISD and placed in the Spring Branch Independent School District, but both KISD and SBISD's boards denied the proposal.[8]

Controversy[edit]

Lance Hindt[edit]

Lance Hindt, who served as the district's superintendent from 2016 to 2018, was an alumnus of Katy Taylor High School,[9] and in 2012 wrote a PhD thesis for the University of Houston (UH).[10]

During a school board meeting in March 2018, an individual named Greg Gay (also known as Greg Barrett) spoke during a public forum segment of the meeting, and accused Hindt of shoving his head in a urinal when they were both enrolled in a secondary school within the district, and said the incident drove him to the brink of suicide.[11][12] Hindt denied Gay's allegations, claiming he will only be judged by God.[12]

Following the incident, Alabama judge David Carpenter also accused Hindt of bullying during their secondary school years. While Carpenter said he was not a victim of Hindt's bullying, he has witnessed "frightening, intense and near constant" bullying of weaker classmates by Hindt. Carpenter even labeled Hindt a "thug."[11]

Prior to the incidents' surfacing, Hindt was noted to have taken very public stance against bullying.[13]

At around the same time, a man named Sean Dolan ran Hindt's dissertation through a software, and discovered that it matched with another paper, leading to accusations of plagiarism.[10][14] The University of Houston administration stated that it would investigate the matter.[15]

After an 18-month investigation, the University of Houston removed Hindt's dissertation from their official website. In May 2018, Hindt announced his resignation and retirement effective January 1, 2019, saying that he cannot fulfill his duties as superintendent and that he had done "dumb things".[16] The district agreed to pay $955,795 as severance; a payment which violated Texas Education Code Section 11.201 and resulted in a loss of $513,755 in funding.[17]

To pursue any defamation claims on behalf of Hindt, the district hired the law firm Feldman and Feldman.[18]

Hindt would later campaign for the KISD board members who had defended him and arranged his huge severance bonus.[19]

The district has been criticized for its perceived inaction on Hindt's plagiarism allegations, which critics say run afoul of the district's responsibility to provide an ethical education to its students.[14] The district's decision to retain a law firm for possible defamation lawsuits was also criticized as possibly an act of bullying in and of itself by the district against its critics,[14] or even an attempt by a taxpayer-funded entity to silence those who were thinking about criticizing a public official.[20]

Intellectual censorship[edit]

In October 2021, author Jerry Craft was scheduled to speak to fourth and fifth graders about his graphic novels New Kid and Class Act. Parents in the district claimed the books taught Critical race theory, prompting the district to cancel the author visit and remove the book from school libraries. Craft was later invited again for a visit to the district, and the books were reinstated in libraries with a restricted audience.[21][22][23]

During a school board meeting in November 2021, Seven Lakes High School senior Cameron Samuels spoke during a public forum segment of the meeting to claim that the district was blocking student internet access to the Trevor Project and other LGBTQ+ websites with an "Alternative Sexual Lifestyles (GLBT)" category.[24][25] Students started a petition soon after that garnered almost two thousand signatures within a few months.[26]

The district defended blocking access to the Trevor Project by claiming it violated the Children's Internet Protection Act with its chat features. In January, the district unblocked the websites of four LGBTQ+ organizations: the Montrose Center, the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, and GLSEN.[27][28][29][30]

In February 2022, NBC senior investigative reporter Mike Hixenbaugh and NBC correspondent Antonia Hylton published a report on books disappearing in record numbers from Texas schools, specifically those in Katy ISD. Superintendent Gregorski sent a parent communication to clarify the district's policy regarding removing books from schools, which includes various methods for parent input.[31][32]

The Houston Chronicle reported in February 2022 that Samuels and other students planned to distribute challenged books to students during a "FReadom Week" initiative, including Maus by Art Spiegelman and Beloved by Toni Morrison.[33] In response to the distribution of hundreds of books, the district initiated an internal review of Maus. Students and parents spoke against banning Maus during the public forum segment of the March 2022 board meeting, and the district announced its decision later that week to keep the book in middle school libraries.[34][35]

The ACLU of Texas a letter delivered a letter to school board members and the superintendent in April 2022 claiming that the district's book removals violated the First Amendment, the Texas Constitution, and the district's own policies.[36]

Schools[edit]

High schools[edit]

Note: In addition, Katy ISD [1] lists under high schools:

  • Miller Career & Technology Center[39] - Offers students from other campuses specialized career and technology programs as well as core classes.
  • Raines High School - A project-based learning campus that allows students to earn credits at an accelerated pace.

Junior High schools[edit]

Elementary schools[edit]

Support Facilities[edit]

Other Campuses[edit]

  • Katy ISD Virtual School
  • Opportunity Awareness Center
  • Robert R. Shaw Center for STEAM
  • Simon Youth Academy

Katy ISD has done an extensive study and maintains and updates a District Growth and Facilities Planning Study.[2]

Departments[edit]

The Katy ISD Police Department was created in 1989 because the district had jurisdictional issues and low response times from other police agencies.[46]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "100 Year Anniversary". www.katyisd.org.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Katy ISD Public Dashboard". www.katyisd.org.
  3. ^ "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Katy ISD". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 5 Jan 2022.
  4. ^ Writer, Luciano BattistiniTimes Staff. "KISD earns recognized rating from TEA". katytimes.com.
  5. ^ Johnson, Trish. "Location helps make Cimarron popular." Houston Chronicle. April 7, 2009. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
  6. ^ "Random Drug-Testing Program Question and Answers" (PDF). Katy Independent School District. 2006-06-03. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  7. ^ Bretting, Sandra (2004-05-27). "Random Drug-Testing Program Question and Answers". Katy Independent School District. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  8. ^ Herrera, Sebastian (2015-07-29). "Spring Branch ISD denies subdivision petition to join district, leave Katy ISD". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  9. ^ Alfonso, Fernando (2 April 2018). "Judge claims Katy ISD superintendent was a 'vicious bully' in school". Houston Chronicle.
  10. ^ a b Ketterer, Samantha (3 August 2018). "Higher education leader asks UH to investigate plagiarism claims against Katy ISD superintendent". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  11. ^ a b Glenn, Mike (January 7, 2019). "Lance Hindt's final year at Katy ISD". Associated Press. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  12. ^ a b Groogan, Greg (27 Mar 2018). "More brutality emerging in Katy ISD superintendent's past". FOX 26 Houston. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  13. ^ Groogan, Greg (March 26, 2018). "Judge says Katy superintendent was once a 'vicious bully'". FOX 26 Houston. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Lieber, Dave (February 27, 2020). "After the Allen ISD superintendent left to lead his hometown district, the wheels came off his career". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  15. ^ Glenn, Mike (2018-10-28). "UH says it 'thoroughly investigates' plagiarism allegation against Hindt". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  16. ^ Simon, Erica (May 11, 2018). "Katy ISD superintendent's resignation effective Jan. 1, 2019". KTRK-TV. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Reporter, R. Hans Miller | Times Senior. "KISD penalized more than $500K for Hindt payout". Katy Times. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  18. ^ Glenn, Mike (12 May 2018). "Katy ISD's Lance Hindt resigns top job, will get $750,000 payout". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  19. ^ Glenn, Mike (2019-04-17). "Ex-Superintendent Lance Hindt endorses Katy ISD board candidates". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  20. ^ Blain, Charles (May 10, 2018). "Katy ISD Votes to Sue Complaining Citizen". Texas Scorecard. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  21. ^ Rhodes, Syan (2021-10-26). "Award-winning children's author speaks to Katy ISD students after critical race theory controversy". KPRC. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  22. ^ Garcia, Ariana (2021-10-15). "Book accused of promoting critical race theory reinstated by Katy ISD". Chron. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  23. ^ KTRK (2021-10-15). "Book pulled from from Katy ISD after parent petition is now back on library shelves". ABC13 Houston. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  24. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (2021-11-24). "'It needs to be accessible by all': Katy ISD blocks LGBTQ+ resources, suicide prevention website". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  25. ^ Childers, Shelley (2021-12-14). "Katy ISD continues to block LGBTQ+ resource websites as student appeals for change again". ABC13 Houston. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  26. ^ Lee, Josephine (2022-01-11). "At one Texas school, LGBTQ teens call onslaught of hostile laws "matter of life and death"". Salon. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  27. ^ "Katy ISD reviewing LGBTQ-related websites after backlash over blocking them". khou.com. December 14, 2021. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  28. ^ "Texas continues to remove LGBTQ suicide prevention resources from state websites". NBC News. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  29. ^ "Katy ISD Unblocks Four LGBTQ Websites". OutSmart Magazine. 2022-01-24. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  30. ^ Ernst, Sara Willa (2022-01-25). "Katy ISD unblocks some LGBTQ websites after public complaints, but others remain banned". Houston Public Media. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  31. ^ "Book banning in Texas schools: Titles are pulled off library shelves in record numbers". NBC News. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  32. ^ Twitter https://twitter.com/mike_hixenbaugh/status/1488981123078180868. Retrieved 2022-04-22. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (2022-02-18). "Katy ISD students organize to distribute books about racism, LGBTQ+ issues". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  34. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (2022-03-25). "Katy ISD reviewing whether Holocaust novels 'Maus,' 'Maus II' are appropriate for students". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  35. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (2022-04-06). "Katy ISD decides Holocaust novels 'Maus' and 'Maus II' are appropriate for middle school and up". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  36. ^ Dellinger, Hannah (2022-04-21). "ACLU demands Houston-area school districts to stop removing books and apologize to students". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  37. ^ a b c d e Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Schools Recognized 1982-1983 Through 1999-2002 (PDF) Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/2008/2008-schools.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  39. ^ "Katy ISD MCTC". www.katyisd.org. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2017-03-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  41. ^ a b c "Trustees name 3 new Katy schools." Houston Chronicle. April 5, 2008.
  42. ^ Miles, Jason (2018-08-02). "Katy ISD school built in reservoir ready to reopen post-Harvey". KHOU-TV. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  43. ^ Seward, Larry (2018-08-14). "Creech Elementary reopens nearly a year after Hurricane Harvey". KHOU-TV. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  44. ^ "Microsoft Word - list-2003.doc" (PDF). ed.gov.
  45. ^ "Katy ISD approves name of second stadium - Community Impact Newspaper". communityimpact.com. 28 February 2017.
  46. ^ Gordon, Cathy. "Katy ISD solves jurisdiction problem with creation of its own police force." Houston Chronicle. February 26, 1989. Section C p. 1W. Available at NewsBank, Record: 02*26*606156, accessible from the website of the Houston Public Library with a library card.

External links[edit]