The information below is dialogue in reference to a proposal within the HISD Board to change the name of not only our beloved Jeff Davis HS because of its link to the Confederacy but seven other schools.
Davis Reagan Lanier Coalition
For the majority present, this was the first time they had met and heard from the attorneys who will be representing the coalition. Goforth made it clear that this lawsuit would have no real strength if pursued solely on trying to save the names of eight schools whose names are linked to the Confederacy. No judge would consider hearing such a case. Rather, according to Goforth, our attack will be one that will prove that the Houston Independent School District (HISD) violated the Texas Education Code, violated its own policies and procedures and continues to conduct business in a manner that is not transparent and is not truthful to the school communities. Our elected officials (the HISD school board), have failed us. They continue to ignore the communities who duly elected them to provide the best education for our children.
As an example, HISD has refused to give the actual cost it would take to change the names of eight schools. Amounts given by the district have changed so many times that no one really knows. The fact remains that funds provided are our taxpayer dollars going to waste on a needless project that could be better used for students and teachers. The fact also remains that HISD is broke and teachers and administrators are leaving in large numbers. Not having a superintendent makes matters worse for the district.
Goforth urged us to “Keep the Movement Alive!” We are on the right path to give HISD a wake- up call.
We deserve better and it is time to act now and make the citizens of Houston aware of the problems facing the school district.
In Closing, I want to thank all of you who have supported the cause, monetarily, morally and in the spirit of the law. Fighting a bureaucracy can be a very taxing challenge, especially when board members continue to wield their power to suit their own agendas at the expense of tax payers. United we can beat them.
Class of ‘64
On the court case that involves eight schools and "Save the Name," a court date will be announced soon. The court accepted the injunction and the case was assigned to 189th Civil Court. The presiding judge will be Judge Bill Burke. He was appointed by Former Governor Rick Perry. Our attorney, Dan Goforth, was pleased with the selection since a conservative judge may be more favorable to our cause. If you wish to access the court case information, you can go to Judge Burke's website. The Reagan Facebook (Save the Name) page written by Ronnie Chavez also has the information. The document is 24 pages.
Just a few words to bring you up to date with our legal battle with the HISD board of education.
The John H. Reagan alumni and friends have hired the well known Houston investigative reporter Wayne Dolcifino to help us with the discovery portion of our court case. I know that everyone is very anxious to get going with the court case and so am I. It is so hard to be patient but we must maintain faith that our legal counsel knows best when it comes to preparing and submitting the court documents to try and stop HISD from removing 90 years of our beloved school tradition from the face of our community.
By adding Wayne in our corner, we have added someone who knows much more of the details regarding HISD's misuse of tax payers dollars and skirting around the Texas laws that they should of followed and this will make our court case just that much stronger. We will be having a Press conference in the near future that will include every Reagan alumni and friend that can attend. Mr. Dolcifino is a very savvy man who wants to get the whole Houston community involved in our fight with this school boards conduct and continuing misuse of their power to govern HISD.
While our legal counsel is busy putting together what has turned out to be a very challenging court case, it is up to all of us to stay engaged and do not give up on saving our schools name. Everyone will be notified regarding the time and place for the up coming press conference.
Keep the faith,
Ronnie Chavez - Reagan Class of 67
Dear Davis Alumni and Friends:
On Thursday, April 7, 2016, I attended a "Save the Name" meeting that provided the latest on what is happening with our alma mater. But first I want to bring you an update on the “Save the Name” campaign. As of today, I have received $3,635.00 from 42 donors. Our goal is $4,000.00 and we are almost there. I thank and appreciate all who have supported our cause to save the name and heritage of our school. Many of you took the time to write personal notes to me and for that I thank you.
If you have not made your contribution, it is not too late. Make your check payable to Jeff Davis 64 Reunion and send to A. Hinojosa, 2726 Bernadette Lane, Houston, Texas 77043.
Following is a recap of the meeting:
Attendees at the” Save the name” meeting included representatives from Reagan and Lanier. Of importance was the aggressive move to file the Temporary Restraining Order (RTO) by Attorney Dan Goforth and his team at the Harris County Courthouse. I expect this to happen very soon. By filing the RTO, Goforth will request a hearing to stop the HISD vote that will officially change the names of eight schools when the HISD board meets on Thursday, May 12, 2016, 5:00 pm. This is a two-step process, file and set a date for the hearing.
Goforth strongly suggested that Davis, Reagan and Lanier alumni be present at both the filing of the RTO and the hearing. Numbers make a difference. Wearing school colors and caring placards are a plus. In addition, he also suggested that we get the media involved. Filing and hearing will take place at the Harris County Courthouse located at Fannin and Preston. I will notify you of the dates as soon as the Davis, Reagan and Lanier team hears from the attorney.
The Lanier group brought forward their intent to file against the HISD board on violations of the ethic codes for conduct and compliance during the board meetings and the entire process. They also are filing a complaint to the District Attorney’s office on the election process of new board member Diana Davila for falsifying federal documents on her residency. It is known that she did not reside in the district she represents for the required six months. If successful, the entire move to change the names of schools from its inception could become null and void and all the votes would be thrown out. We will see what happens with this.
In my previous communication, I mentioned the court case that was being heard in the appellate court in Texarkana regarding the Confederate statues on the University of Texas property and filed against the UT president by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). Unfortunately, the court did not rule in favor of the SCV. It is now going to the State Supreme Court. Had it been a favorable decision, our cause would have had a stronger ground to stand on.
Briefly on another item, the Renaming Committee has been named and HISD is still moving forward with their intent to change the name of Davis. I only know of one member of the committee and that person is State Representative Jessica Farrar. I know her very well.
Several weeks ago, I emailed the principal and gave her a list of twelve names that were recommended for Davis. I received these names directly from you or from Linda Lacey Vestal via Facebook. If you still want to send your recommendation, you can send it to the principal by going to the HISD website for Davis, http://www.houstonisd.org/Page/78451. There is a survey that you can complete and make comments on your name recommendation. You have a short window to do this.
Again, please accept my sincere thanks for all your support, your kind notes and above all for your belief in keeping our school name and its heritage. United we can make a difference.
Bea Jacobs Rouse
Jefferson Davis High School – “Timeless Forever”
As many of you already know, the HISD Board of Trustees passed a resolution on January 14, 2016 to rename Davis and seven other schools. Unfortunate as it may be, the next step is to rename Davis. Inclusive of the resolution is the procedure that must be taken to name any school in the district. A renaming committee will be formed under the direction of Trustee Anna Eastman and delegated to Dr. Julissa Alcantar-Martinez, principal of Davis.
At her request, Dr. Alcantar is now taking names of anyone interested in serving on the committee. Based on the procedure, the committee must be composed of a school administrator, teacher, student, community leader and Davis alumni representative. The number of committee members may also be at the discretion of the principal.
In addition, she is also taking recommendations for the new name for Davis. Since the passage of the resolution, I have heard from Davis alumni and others who have already suggested a name. They include Slater Martin, the late Senator Mario Gallegos, Jefferson C. Davis and Northside High School. There may be other names that I am not aware of. The list could be endless and that is certainly okay.
Time is of essence! I have been told by Davis that the committee will be named after next week’s spring break.
My call to you is this: I encourage you to submit your name to be considered to serve on the committee and/or submit your recommendation to give Davis a new name. If you recommend a name, give a sound justification.
If interested in participating on the committee of if you just want to submit a name suggestions, send email to Dr. Alcantar at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy to her assistant Rosa Giron, email@example.com. Please include your telephone number and email address where you can be contacted.
You are very important to the process because I know you care about Davis. Please give this your utmost attention and priority. The Board will take action on the new name this May or as early as April 2016.
JD CL '64
Dear Davis Classmates and Friends,
I attended the community meeting last night and found it to be rather interesting. There were in the neighborhood of 100 in attendance. Anna Eastman, HISD trustee, conducted the meeting. There were 42 speakers which made this for a long meeting because no one was given a time limit. Some were long-winded and others short. But, I can tell you that the majority were for a “no name change.”
I was pleased that there were a couple of Reagan folks. One of them spoke on behalf of the “no name” change and offered his support. The Reagan meeting takes place on February 16, 2016 at 6 pm. Several Davis alumni who I talked to want to go to their meeting.
Those who spoke on behalf of changing the name want to do so for the sake of giving Davis a new, fresh name that reflects the culture of the community. There was one group who was way out in left field and talked about terrorist attacks and the need to change and protect the community. I couldn’t quite figure that one out. Towards the end of the meeting, they raised a placard that boldly displayed the new name for Davis….Lydia Mendoza High School!! I need to do a little research on this one. I think she was famous singer/entertainer way back in the 50’s. And lastly, a former Davis principal spoke about wanting a complete change in everything, new name, new school and the works. He certainly gave himself a lot of credit for the good things that he did for Davis while he was principal and even told everyone that he wore purple underwear on game day! All others who spoke generally gave their strong support for Davis and told about the generations of family members who graduated from the school. So as you can see, it was a night of entertainment and also a night of strong feelings and convictions for our alma mater.
Trustee Eastman gave closing remarks and thanked everyone for their comments. She indicated that she would be sharing our comments with her fellow board members. Be mindful that the cost to change the name for each school is approximately $250,000. That to me is taxpayer money being wasted just because several people want to play the political game.
What can we expect from this? Having attended the last five board meetings and seeing how members operate, my gut feeling is that the vote will be very close, probably a 5 to 4 vote that can go either way. This will depend on which side of the fence the two new board members take (Diana Davila and Jolanda Jones). The vote is expected at the May 2016 board meeting and everyone is welcome to attend. (It will be the second Thursday in May.)
The question I have is one that I have been asked, “Can Reagan and Lanier keep their names and not Davis?” Is that possible? I will try to find an answer to that.
May is several months away and a lot can happen. I will try to be vigilante and keep you posted on new developments as they occur. In the meantime, keep your letters rolling in and don’t let up.
Purple Pride Lives. I hope you feel the same way.
Thank you, my 1960-69 classmates and friends who attended. Our decade outnumbered everyone else.
Dear Jeff Davis Classmates and Friends,
Below are the names and address of the Houston Independent School District Trustees. I have also included the address of Congressman Gene Green’s Houston Office.
1. Anna Eastman, District 1 (Represents Davis and Reagan High Schools)
2. Rhonda Skillern-Jones, District II
3. Manuel Rodriquez, Jr., District III
4. Jolanda Jones, District IV
5. Michael L. Lunceford, District V
6. Greg Meyers, District VI
7. Harvin C. Moore, District VII
8. Diana Davila, District VIII
2nd Vice President
9. Wanda Adams, District IX
1st Vice President
The mailing address for all board members is:
HISD Board Services
4400 W. 18th Street
Houston, Texas 77092
Congressman Gene Green
256 North Sam Houston Parkway East
Houston, Texas 77060
The following link will take you to HISD’s website with photos and bios of each board member, http://www.houstonisd.org/board
As many of you already know, the Houston ISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution to rename eight schools whose names are linked to the Confederacy, one of them being our alma mater. However, Anna Eastman, trustee who represents Davis amended the resolution to allow for community input. This will give us a very short timeline (two weeks).
If you support a “no name change” to our school, I encourage you to begin writing letters to every HISD school trustee to express your position. I recommend that you begin your letter by stating your position followed by reasons why (brief).
Since Congressman Gene Green is a Davis alumnus and supports our position, I recommend that you also write him a letter. One of his assistants usually attends the HISD board meetings and keeps him apprised of community issues.
Please make this one of your priorities for the week. The more letters we send the more effective we can be in making a strong statement for the Davis community. (Electronic and paper petitions are also circulating and/or being initiated by Davis alumni.)
This is our last chance to keep our school name!!
My sincere thanks for your support,
Class of 1964
On Thursday, January 14, 2016, the Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees passed a resolution by a 5 to 4 vote to rename eight schools (Grady Middle School, Dowling Middle School, Jackson Middle School, Johnston Middle School, Lanier Middle School, Davis High School, Lee High School and Reagan High School, all linked to the Confederacy). Trustees Anna Eastman and Jolanda Jones amended the resolution to give four schools the opportunity to seek community input (Davis, Reagan, Lanier and Johnston). Trustee Anna Eastman represents the Davis and Reagan schools.
Davis alumni who testified on behalf of Davis retaining its name were Nick Harris, who oversees the Panther Network, Carmen Nuncio, a member of the Davis Leadership Team, Davis alumni who graduated from the Class of 1953 (Mann) and me. It is quite evident that the board is divided between racial lines. This I feel was the last “hooray” by the outgoing board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones to make a statement that to me has no merit.
Reagan and Lanier by far had the most supporters who testified against the resolution. I was quite impressed when the Lanier contingency brought former Governor Mark White to support their efforts. All of the Reagan speakers who testified were ‘60’s graduates. There were also several prominent business leaders from the Heights area. It was no surprise to me to hear State Senator Sylvia Garcia and State Representative Carol Alvarado support the resolution. In fact, both not only recommended a name change for Davis, but also recommended that Davis be named after the late State Senator Mario Gallegos which is a slap in the face and a bit premature in the process.
I extend my thanks to Connie Esparza, Alex Rios, Mary Ann Read Jackson, Gloria Vargas Montemayor and Gloria De La Rosa Granados (all Davis graduates) for their attendance and support. Being witnesses to HISD board meetings can be a real experience that often makes eyes roll back and makes us wonder how some were elected and made the official voice of the community on education.
Since the board meeting, I have emailed the Davis principal, Dr. Julissa Alcantar-Martinez, to ask that she include members of the Davis Leadership Team to be a part of the community outreach. However, since the process begins with Trustee Anna Eastman, we must wait to see what her first steps are going to be and what she is going to propose. It is expected that the recommendation from the Davis community will be presented to the board as early as this coming May.
To think that our alma mater may have a new name does not register with me and that is why I am asking for your support. In the past we have initiated electronic petitions, paper petitions and emails to all board members and the designated chief school administrator. (Superintendent Terry Grier will be leaving at the end of February.) What has been more effective for me in the past has been a letter- writing campaign. However, if we can do all, then I feel that we have done our job by hitting them from all directions. I will provide you with email and mailing addresses as soon as I can verify the correct addresses.
As a banner in my bedroom reads, “DAVIS – Timeless Forever” Thank you in advance for your continued support.
Class of 1964
This is to inform you that Rhonda Skillern- Jones, the current Chair of the Houston Independent School District Board, will be placing an agenda item at the HISD Board Agenda Review meeting for consideration to change the names of eight HISD schools that have a name affiliated to the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis, our alma mater, along with others such as Reagan and Lee high schools are on the list. This is Skillern-Jones’ last “hoorah” before the swearing in of the new board chair. The agenda review meeting will take place on Monday, January 11, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. (address below).
Manuel Rodriguez, Jr will be the new board chair. Board member Anna Eastman is the board trustee who represents Davis. Other board members include Michael L. Lunceford, Greg Meyers, Harvin C. Moore, Wanda Adams and newly-elected members, Jolanda Jones and Diana Davila.
Jefferson Davis High School has a rich history that dates as far back as 1926 when it officially opened its doors. I feel strongly about a “no name change” to our school and hope that you support my position.
What can you do to support the “No Name Change?” Immediately begin contacting all the board members to express your position. You can send your email message to firstname.lastname@example.org and all board members will receive your message. If any of you have personal contacts with Congressman Gene Green, State Representatives Jessica Farrar and Armanda Walle, Councilman Ed Gonzalez, Adrian Garcia and other noted community leaders who agree with our position, please ask for their immediate support.
In addition to sending your message, I urge you to attend the Board Meeting on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 5:00pm. The meeting location is the Hattie Mae White ESC Building, 4400 W. 18th Street, Houston, Texas 77092 (across from Northwest Mall and in the Delmar Stadium complex). If you would like to address the board (3 min. max), you may do so by going to the HISD website (http://www.houstonhisd.org/Page/32478). To speak to an agenda item, as in this case, the form must be completed no later than 11:00 a.m. on the day of the meeting (January 14, 2016). (At this writing, the number/name of the agenda item is unknown because the agenda review meeting will not take place until Monday, January 11, 2016.) Wearing purple is a must.
Thank you for your support. I look forward to seeing some of you at the board meeting on Thursday, January 14, 2016 and if you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com.