Fort Bend ISD Board approves Interlocal Agreement in principle regarding the historic cemetery discovered at site of future school (6/19/19)
Agreement would convey land to county for future reinterment and memorialization of 95 individuals whose remains were found in early 2018
Fort Bend ISD (June 19, 2019) – The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees approved the principle terms of an Interlocal Agreement that will transfer ownership of an abandoned and historic cemetery to Fort Bend County, following the passage of legislation that amended state law permitting the county to own and operate a cemetery. Based on an investigation of the site, archaeologists believe that the individuals buried at the property were likely convicts who were leased by the State to provide convict labor to a local plantation.
The action taken by the FBISD Board Monday grants authority to Board President Jason Burdine to complete negotiations with the county to finalize details of the Agreement, prior to the county’s action.
“We are excited and hopeful that we will be able to move forward with an agreement that will allow these individuals to be reinterred and memorialized,” said Burdine.
“We share the county’s commitment to doing what is right for these individuals. While the negotiations continue, we are making progress and are confident that we can come to a joint resolution.”
Earlier Monday, Fort Bend ISD District leaders joined with elected officials from Fort Bend County, the state legislature and U.S. Congressman Al Green to reiterate a shared desire to appropriately honor the Sugar Land 95, and celebrate the passage of House Bill 4179. The legislation, signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this month, amended a state statute to allow Fort Bend County to own and operate a cemetery, which was not permissible under previous law.
“Fort Bend ISD is thrilled that our county leaders have stepped up to recognize and honor the contributions of these 95 individuals, and the state lawmakers who carried the torch to Austin to change law,” said Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre.
“We are thankful for the support of all parties that have put us another step toward a final resting place for these individuals.”
Fort Bend ISD’s James Reese Career and Technical Center, where the cemetery was discovered, will open in August of 2019 as scheduled. For more background on the discovery, visit www.fortbendisd.com/historiccemetery.