Message from Board President Jason Burdine (3/8/19)
As we wrap up the school day and gear up for Spring Break, I am reminded of how important these breaks are for our students, teachers and families. The spring semester is full of activities, projects and testing. Many of our secondary students are preparing for athletic, fine arts and academic competitions and we are running full force toward the end of the school year. Before long, we will be gearing up for the 2019-20 school year and the opening of the James Reese Technical Center.
I want to take a moment to update you on the progress the District has made with both Fort Bend County and the City of Sugar Land on the Sugar Land 95 Memorial Project. We continue to work cooperatively with Fort Bend County to find a lawful solution for reinterring the remains of the 95 individuals discovered during our construction of the James Reese Technical Center.
We appreciate the recent actions by Fort Bend County to step up and present itself as a new partner in these efforts. Like the District, the County has determined that it also does not have the authority to own a cemetery. After analyzing all of the options with the County, it has been determined that the County will need to partner with the City of Sugar Land or urge the Legislature to modify the law to allow them to own the cemetery as well. It is a complicated issue, and we appreciate and applaud the County’s and the City’s efforts to partner with us to find a legal way to reinter the remains on site and memorialize the 95 people lost to history.
We will also continue to seek assistance from the State of Texas with reinterment and memorialization since the convict-leasing program was a state-sanctioned program that existed prior to the founding of the City of Sugar Land and Fort Bend ISD.
I am optimistic that together we will be able to find a solution that will allow the community to learn from this historic discovery, and to teach our students and others the truth about the state-sanctioned convict-leasing system. Fort Bend ISD has always been committed to preserving the dignity of those buried at the site, and educating our community and students about the role these individuals had in shaping our local economy.
Together with our partners, we will create a space for memorialization and healing, and an appropriate resting place for the Sugar Land 95. You can learn more about the Sugar Land 95 Memorial Project on our website.
Please enjoy your Spring Break and come back rested and ready to finish out the last leg of this awesome school year.