In response to a resolution passed by the Fort Bend County Commissioner’s Court, the Fort Bend ISD board of trustees will consider its own resolution supporting a state bill that would allow the county to own and operate a cemetery next to the district’s new technical center.
The board will vote on the resolution next Monday at the district’s monthly board meeting.
This resolution will be similar to one passed by the county commissioners in early March, which gave support to a bill currently in the Texas Legislature.
The Texas Health and Safety Code currently states that only cities and smaller counties may own and operate cemeteries. House Bill 4179, filed by state Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land) and referred to the House Committee on County Affairs, would allow counties with a population of more than 550,000 and which borders a county with a population of more than 3.3 million to own, operate, and maintain a cemetery. The bill has a public hearing scheduled for this Thursday.
FBISD said in a statement that officials continue to work cooperatively with county and city officials to memorialize the remains of 95 individuals who are believed to have been subjected to the state of Texas’ convict-leasing program, which was in operation until 1911. The individuals posthumously 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,” FBISD board president Jason Burdine said. “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 the historic cemetery, as well as continue negotiations with FBISD and the City of Sugar Land to memorialize the Sugar Land 95.
Also during Monday’s meeting, FBISD staff will provide an update on the district’s work to incorporate this important piece of history into their curriculum.