What is the SKY partnership? Budget cuts force discontinuation of Spring Branch ISD program

HOUSTON – Spring Branch ISD announced more budget cuts Friday as the district moves into the 2024-2025 school year.

Among the cuts the district is making is the discontinuation of a program known as the SKY partnership.

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The SKY partnership currently serves 1,100 Spring Branch ISD students, who receive their core academic classes at KIPP and YES Prep, taught by their teachers. However, their elective courses are provided by SBISD teachers.

While the program has been beneficial for the students, Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Blaine acknowledged its high cost in an interview with KPRC 2′s Rilwan Balogun back in November. In the interview, Blaine said it currently costs approximately $11.5 million to offer the program, not including additional services provided free of charge.

“It’s been great. It’s a wonderful program for kids, certainly not something we’d be discussing if we were not in this situation with the budget,” Blaine said. “But it’s a very expensive program. The totality of the program, it’s not even the totality, right now it’s costing us right about $11.5 million to offer that program for 1,100 kids. That doesn’t count for all the services that we actually provide that we don’t charge.”

Balogun asked Blaine in November whether she worried about parents pulling their students out of the district if the program was discontinued.

“I think it’s possible we could lose some of our kids that are in our SKY partnership program,” Blaine said. “It’s a unique program and there are going to be some parents who want it in the manner in which it is currently designed. We certainly understand that. That’s one of the reasons we’re having these conversations around school closures, reconfiguring programs – we’re having those conversations in the fall and not in the spring. Because I felt strongly as a parent myself, I would want to know if a program that my child was deeply involved in was going to be altered, reconfigured, or cut all together because I would want an option as a parent to be able to do something different.”

About the Author

Christian Terry covered digital news in Tyler and Wichita Falls before returning to the Houston area where he grew up. He is passionate about weather and the outdoors and often spends his days off on the water fishing.

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