The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees will consider adopting a resolution in support of a bill to amend state statutes to permit Fort Bend County to own and operate the abandoned cemetery discovered last year during the construction of the district’s James Reese Career & Technical Center.
The resolution will be similar to a resolution that was passed by the Fort Bend County Commissioner’s Court in support of the bill earlier this month. Currently, the Texas Health and Safety Code allows cities and smaller counties to own and operate cemeteries. House Bill 4179, filed by Rep. Rick Miller and referred to the House Committee on County Affairs, would allow counties with a population of more than 550,000 that borders a county with a population of more than 3.3 million to own, operate, and maintain a cemetery.
School officials continue to work cooperatively with officials of both the county and city to memorialize the remains of 95 individuals who are believed to have been subjected to the State of Texas’s convict-leasing program which was in operation until 1911. The remains of those individuals have come to be known as the Sugar Land 95.
“Fort Bend ISD is appreciative of the support of Fort Bend County, the City of Sugar Land, and our current state representatives who share our vision of memorializing this historic discovery,” said Board President Jason Burdine. “We continue to be optimistic that we will find a solution and that we will be able to share this important part of our shared history with generations to come.”
HB 4179 would allow Fort Bend County to take ownership and operate a historic cemetery, and continue negotiations with the district and the City of Sugar Land to memorialize the Sugar Land 95.
The FBISD Board of Trustees will consider the resolution during the next meeting on April 8.
During the meeting, FBISD staff will also provide an update on the district’s work to incorporate that piece of history into the FBISD curriculum.
For more information, visit www.fortbendisd.com/historiccemetery.