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Fort Bend ISD community invited to speak out at “open mic” forum

January 5, 2019

Endless debate and anxiety over proposed school closures, re-zoning, bond election projects and campus overcrowding over the last year inspired many Fort Bend ISD parents and tax payers to pay closer attention to issues related to the school district. Thousands of parents attended public forums, school board meetings and town hall gatherings hosted by district officials. Some parents protested outside the meetings in hopes of influencing board decisions. Some residents gathered signatures for petitions and others spoke at meetings or emailed concerns to trustees. For those that would like to engage with other community members to discuss and debate ongoing issues outside the “official” district channels, an open forum is scheduled Friday, Jan. 11, in Sugar Land. The event, which is not associated with the school district, is designed to facilitate discussion of education-related issues within the Fort Bend ISD community. In addition, the gathering will serve as a fundraiser for Shared Dreams, a community-based program that provides short term assistance to Fort Bend ISD students in need, according to organizer Deron Harrington.

“The purpose is to simply provide this pro-education community an opportunity to speak openly and in an uninhibited manner on multiple issues and at the same time support a great district initiative, Shared Dreams,” said Harrington, who serves as a moderator for “FBISD Concerns”, a popular Facebook group that boasts over 15,000 members.

The forum is free and open to the public and parents are welcome to bring their children. Structured similarly to public comments portion of school board meetings, the forum allows attendees to speak on any education or district-related issue for up to three minutes. A sign-in sheet will be available for those who wish to comment on a first-come, first-serve basis. Speakers may not single out individual teachers by name and name-calling and foul language is not allowed, according to forum rules posted online.

Recent community forums related to re-districting issues and school capital improvement projects sponsored by the district have drawn crowds in the thousands as community-involvement has steadily increased over the last year.

The event also seeks to raise funds and in-kind donations for Shared Dreams. Attendees can show their support by donating new linens and bedding, toiletries, flash lights, batteries, battery-operated lanterns, air freshener, insect repellent spray, school supplies, jackets and coats for elementary and middle-school students, school clothing and non-perishable food items. School supplies most needed include rulers, glue sticks and scissors. The organization accepts donations of new children’s clothing and specifically needs boys’ underwear (size 4), boy’s shorts (size 4, 5, and 6) and girl’s shorts and pants (size 4,5,6, and 7). Toiletry items most needed currently include deodorant (male and female) and feminine hygiene products, razors (male and female). Monetary donations benefiting Shared Dreams will be accepted at the event.

Shared Dreams does not receive funding from state or federal agencies and is not funded by Fort Bend ISD. The community-based initiative receives support from volunteers, local businesses and community members. The mission of Shared Dreams is to provide short term assistance to registered Fort Bend ISD students whose needs have been determined by their campus nurse with assistance from campus staff. For more information about Shared Dreams, visit www.fortbendisd.com/Page/198

The “open mic” forum is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square located at16090 City Walk in Sugar Land.

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