HISD finds buyer for historic building

A symbolic ‘perfect match’
Yellowstone Academy, which is aimed at inner-city students, will buy historic school

— reported by the Houston Chronicle

The Houston Independent School District will sell its historic Douglass Elementary School campus to the Yellowstone Academy — a 4-year-old private school designed to put inner-city children on the same footing as their counterparts in the suburbs.

Yellowstone Academy’s $1.9 million bid for the property put it atop a list of potential buyers that included the KIPP Academy, the charter school group that’s using the Trulley Street site for a temporary school for students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. HISD shut down the public school last year because of declining enrollment.

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At Yellowstone, a Christian school that opened in August 2002 at a church in the Third Ward, the majority of families pays less than $25 a month — meaning tuition accounts for less than 1 percent of the school’s $1.7 million annual budget.

Tuition rates are calculated based on each family’s income, expenses and even life-style choices. The average Yellowstone student comes from a family with an annual income of $9,600 a year. More than half receive public assistance and nearly 80 percent are from single-parent families, according to school statistics.

Nearly all children are black. Some of the families live in temporary shelters and a few of the children are in Child Protective Services custody.

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Author: Paloma Cruz

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