Realtors Seek Answers from District Leaders on Taxes, School Security, and More

Dr. Grier is one of four superintendents from Houston’s four fastest-growing school districts to participate in HAR event

Houston has one of the hottest real-estate markets in the nation right now, and that’s why a group of local realtors asked the superintendents of Houston’s four fastest-growing school districts to participate in a panel at their H-Town Day on Oct. 17.

The Houston Association of Realtors invited Dr. Terry Grier from Houston ISD, Alton Frailey from Katy ISD, Dr. Mark Henry from Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, and Dr. Duncan Klussmann from Spring Branch ISD to the annual event, which took place this year at the Houston Food Bank. The four leaders spoke to a crowd of nearly 150 realtors.

Introduced by KPRC news reporter Mary Benton, panel participants gave a quick overview of their districts and then responded to questions for nearly an hour. Topics included current tax rates, school security, and how to prevent cyber-bullying.

Regarding bullying on social media sites, Dr. Grier drew applause from the crowd by asking, “Where are the parents?” All four chiefs agreed that forming meaningful relationships with students and training staff rather than turning schools into fortresses is the most effective way to keep schools safe.

When asked to address their biggest challenges, Dr. Grier responded first, saying, “Poverty and homelessness are a huge issue in our district. About 82 percent of our students are economically disadvantaged, and 6,000 are homeless. We can’t control the situation they face at home, so we focus on controlling what happens after they walk into our schools.”

Dr. Henry brought up the fact that 70 percent of Texas households don’t have children, so realtors need to communicate to clients that even if they don’t have school-age children, it’s in their best interests to support public schools. Dr. Klussman asked realtors to encourage their clients to visit the schools rather than relying on state statistics or the community’s perception of them.

“This was extremely helpful,” said realtor Jay Mac Sanders. “It’s amazing to have these four men together in one room and be able to ask them anything.”

Other speakers at the event included Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey, and Rice Institute for Urban Research Co-Director Stephen Klineberg.