Gilbert Public Schools closes Houston Elementary

Martha Romero
Houston Elementary School kindergarten teacher Martha Romero speaks out on the closing of her school at the Gilbert Public Schools governing board meeting March 30. (Screen shot from YouTube)

Houston Elementary School kindergarten teacher Martha Romero speaks out on the closing of her school at the Gilbert Public Schools governing board meeting March 30. (Screen shot from YouTube)

On March 30, Gilbert Public Schools’ governing board unanimously approved closing Houston Elementary School, which was experiencing declining enrollment for several years.

“Houston has been a wonderful school,” board member Jill Humpherys said. “We should celebrate all that Houston has given this district. ... For many years Houston has been the starting ground for wonderful people who have stayed in this district.

“It’s not because of the school that we are closing; it’s that we have to make difficult choices.”

Superintendent Shane McCord and Talent Acquisition Assistant Superintendent Shawn McIntosh are both former principals at Houston, and board member Sheila Uggetti was a founding staff member there.

In related actions, the board unanimously approved the expansion of the Burk Elementary School boundaries to include the former Houston Elementary boundaries and the move of Neely Traditional Academy from its current campus at 321 W. Juniper Ave., Gilbert, to the Houston campus at 500 E. Houston Ave., Gilbert, for the 2021-22 school year.


The board also approved a resolution asking the Arizona School Facilities Board to close the Neely facility at the end of the school year.

The action came on the same night that the board approved laying off 152 certified staff members in the district.

In other actions:

  • The board unanimously approved calendar changes for the next three school years that the board had previously studied at its March 2 work-study session. The main change was to change fall and spring breaks from one week to two for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

  • The board unanimously approved base rates, stipends and supplemental pay schedules for the 2021-22 school year.

By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.