The support for Fort Bend County to own and operate a cemetery near a Fort Bend ISD technical center is growing.

On Tuesday, the FBISD board of trustees approved to support a bill in the Texas Legislature that will allow large counties to own and operate cemeteries.

A week earlier, the Sugar Land city council passed a resolution supporting House Bill 4179.

“Fort Bend ISD is hopeful that the passage of this legislation will allow us to move forward in collaborative efforts to memorialize the 95 individuals discovered at the site of the James Reese Career and Technical Center,” said FBISD board president Jason Burdine in a statement.

“We are appreciative of Fort Bend County and the City of Sugar Land for their willingness to partner with us in this journey.”

HB 4179 was filed by state Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land) and is supported by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Katy), Rep. Phil Stevenson (R-Rosenberg) and Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City).

The bill would allow counties with a population of more than 550,000 that border a county with a population of more than 3.3 million to own, operate, and maintain a cemetery.

FBISD also plans to add the history behind the cemetery, including the state-sponsored convict leasing system, which was used in the late part of the 19th century and ended in the early part of the 20th century.

“From the beginning, Fort Bend ISD has recognized that this discovery is of a great historical significance. We remain committed to teaching future generations about this important piece of local history in a way that encourages critical thinking and appropriate reflection,” said FBISD superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre in a statement.

“This discovery gives our FBISD students a unique opportunity to experience first-hand the realities of the convict-leasing system. We are excited that our students will directly benefit from this historic discovery.”

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