Skip to Content

### Zoning Guidelines Removed from Two Top Schools Causing Concern in Houston’s Affluent Neighborhoods

HOUSTON – Local parents are expressing outrage over a sudden decision that could impact their children’s education options within just 48 hours. The changes pertain to Wharton Dual Language Academy and James F. Helms Elementary, both highly regarded schools which have now been designated as Separate and Unique schools, necessitating new students to undergo an application process for admission.

Concerned parents, who specifically chose their neighborhoods to enroll their children in these schools, are now facing uncertainty about their children’s educational future and the potential repercussions on property values.

Jessica Soeder, a resident of The Heights, relocated to ensure her children could attend the prestigious English/Spanish dual language program at James F. Helms Elementary. However, with the recent reclassification of the school, she fears that her incoming kindergartner may not have the opportunity to benefit from this educational setting due to the abrupt policy change implemented by HISD.

The lack of adequate notice regarding the application requirement for Separate and Unique schools has left parents like Soeder in a state of limbo, unable to explore alternative educational options within the stipulated timelines.

Moreover, the impact on property values looms large, as the zoning changes could potentially diminish the appeal of these neighborhoods tied to A-rated schools like Helms.

Despite previous assurances from HISD Superintendent Mike Miles that top-rated schools would not be disrupted, the recent actions have contradicted these promises, leaving parents disillusioned and seeking clarity on the future of these educational institutions.

At a meeting with board member Adam Rivon, parents from the community echoed their concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the changes affecting Wharton Dual Language Academy. The board’s decision to approve these modifications without providing comprehensive details has left many feeling neglected and abandoned by the district.

While HISD has outlined a 60-day plan to address the long-term trajectory of each campus, the immediate repercussions of these sudden changes continue to unsettle parents and residents alike.