Provided by Angela Walker

Excerpts from the Houston Chronicle, Jan 1986

After sitting through countless school board meetings, watching his school's independence slowly eroded, South Park High senior class President Percy Kennedy decided it was time to take a final stand. "First you took our money, then you took our name and now you're taking our school," he told the school board. "Ladies and gentlemen, enough is enough." Kennedy and hundreds of other South Park supporters are so upset at plans to close their historic school, they are talking about leaving the school district [to join PAISD]. ... School administrators say combining South Park and Beaumont-Charlton-Pollard high schools with two other high schools will save $1.5 million a year, cutting the district's tax rate by 3 cents per $100 valuation. Morris Weeks, head of South Park Patrons, disputes the savings. More importantly, he says, the school is worth more than mere money. "If you take away our school, you'll kill this community," Weeks said. ... The South Park and Beaumont school districts became one in 1983. The first consolidation effort failed when Beaumont district voters approved consolidation and South Park residents rejected it. At that time South Park property owners paid 20 cents per $100 valuation less in school taxes than residents of the financially strapped Beaumont district. Beaumont district residents then voted their school district out of existence. It then became a common school district under the control of the Jefferson County Commissioners Court. A few minutes after the county commissioners canvassed the dissolution vote, they attached the old Beaumont district to the South Park District. A new voting plan was adopted, including the first single-member school trustee districts in Beaumont, and after the next board election the school board was dominated by former Beaumont district patrons. The new board renamed the South Park district the Beaumont Independent School District. ... South Park Patrons plans to appeal the consolidation plans to the Texas Eduction Agency. Weeks doubts the appeal will work. "If the school board has an open hearing, they can do just about anything they want to," he said.