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Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees approves resolution supporting legislation related to Sugar Land 95 (4/9/2019)

FORT BEND ISD (April 8, 2019)  - The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees has adopted a resolution in support of House Bill 4179, which would amend a state statute to allow Fort Bend County to own and operate the abandoned cemetery discovered during construction of FBISD’s James Reese Career and Technical Center.


“Fort Bend ISD is hopeful that the passage of this legislation will allow us to move forward in collaborative efforts to memorialize the 95 individuals discovered at the site of the James Reese Career and Technical Center,” said FBISD Board President Jason Burdine.

“We are appreciative of Fort Bend County and the City of Sugar Land for their willingness to partner with us in this journey.”


The Board action comes just days after Fort Bend ISD’s Chief Communications Officer Veronica Sopher and General Counsel Rob Scamardo testified to the House Committee on County Affairs in support of the legislation.


Currently, the Texas Health and Safety Code allows cities and smaller counties to own and operate cemeteries. House Bill 4179, filed by State Representative Rick Miller, would allow counties with a population of more than 550,000 that border a county with a population of more than 3.3 million to own, operate, and maintain a cemetery.


During the April 8 Board meeting, the FBISD Board also received an update on the District’s work to represent local history within the District’s student-centered curriculum, including history about the abandoned cemetery.


“From the beginning, Fort Bend ISD has recognized that this discovery is of a great historical significance. We remain committed to teaching future generations about this important piece of local history in a way that encourages critical thinking and appropriate reflection,” said FBISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre.


“This discovery gives our FBISD students a unique opportunity to experience first-hand the realities of the convict-leasing system. We are excited that our students will directly benefit from this historic discovery,” said Dupre.


For more background information on the discovery of the historic cemetery, visit