FAQ for STUDENTS
When will the school name change to Kinder HSPVA?
The name changes when HSPVA moves into its new building in January 2019.
Who is Kinder? What is Kinder Morgan?
The Kinders are billionaires, the richest people in Houston. Mr. Kinder runs a pipeline company, Kinder Morgan, Inc., that he started.
The Kinders are strong supporters of the Republican Party in Texas state government. They gave $625,000 to the campaign of Greg Abbott, our governor who strongly supported the bathroom bill. Maybe that's why it was necessary in 2018 to put up those big banners reassuring you that all races, all genders are welcome at Kinder HSPVA.
Kinder Morgan is a powerful, huge company with a reputation for rolling over people and the environment. Its proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada would force Native Americans to accept a giant pipeline filled with crude oil and sludge crossing their lands, invading and endangering their rivers, drinking water, and way of life. In Connecticut a Kinder Morgan pipeline designed to plow through a state park, tearing down one of few remaining stands of old growth forest in the Northeast, has been protested at length by the local neighbors. One of them is a 91-year old woman.
This is not a company that everyone feels proud to be associated with, or have on their diploma and transcript.
I heard the Kinder name won’t even be on the outside of the building.
Not true. It will be on the outside and inside of the school, on your diploma, and on everything from tickets to social media handles to radio announcements to report cards. You have all seen the new logo that includes the Kinder name, and the new T-shirts and gear in the school store. The image at the top of this page shows how the outside signs will look. A sign on the other side of the building, not shown in this picture, has already been installed.
Everyone will still say HSPVA anyway.
You were told by school staff the name would only be used "formally," and that the donor "understands" that of course people will still say "HSPVA." To reassure you, it was implied the name would not appear on the building, diplomas, merchandise, etc. This was lying by omission. The extensive use of the Kinder name had already been decided when the contract was written back in 2016, at the same time you were being reassured that this was only a minor change, don't worry.
Everything we just mentioned is specifically covered by the Kinders’ contract with HISD. Teachers are required to say Kinder (the contract calls them “persons involved in operating the school”). It will be hard to resist saying Kinder after a few years, because it will be everywhere. New students and parents won't remember anything else.
I heard the school wouldn’t even be built without the Kinder money.
Not true. HISD is spending $2 billion from taxpayers to build 28 new high schools and some other elementary and middle schools. HSPVA is just one of them.
But the bumper stickers will be the same, right?
No. According to the contract, the PTO can still sell the old ones but they have to sell a new “Kinder” one also. The word “The” is replaced by “Kinder” so it’s only 3 characters longer. The women in the school store don't seem to be sure now, that the old ones will continue to be available. One said that the issue was "being reviewed by lawyers and Dr. Allen."
$7.5 million sounds like a lot of money!
The school will cost over $100 million including the value of the downtown land, all of which is being paid by citizens / taxpayers, meaning your parents. The Kinders are adding only about 5% to the budget. That is not a lot.
This is just kind of upsetting. I don't want to worry about it.
The cure for anxiety is action. Here are some things you can do:
- Sign and share on social media, the petition asking the Kinders to give back the name
- Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at kindergiveitback
- Write the Kinders a letter at:
2229 San Felipe
Houston, Texas 77019
Tell them sincerely what the school means to you and why you are asking them to give back the name and take a theater name instead of the whole school name.
- Speak at an HISD board meeting. You can sign up here. You will have 1 minute to speak. Write it out beforehand. Tell the school board to take the Kinders' offer to give the name back.
- Learn more and speak up.
More questions? Keep reading.
Okay, I heard the school wouldn’t be useful without the Kinder money. It wouldn’t have enough equipment in the theaters to even teach drama.
Not true. The Kinder money buys state-of-the-art theater equipment, better and newer than HSPVA has now. HISD would have provided “standard” equipment, new, but closer to what HSPVA has now. Anything from the old school could be used, too.
All the teachers are in favor of this.
Probably not all. If the Kinders are here to stay, forever, it just wouldn’t be wise for a teacher to speak against the name change.
Could the Kinders give the money without having the school renamed?
Why didn’t they do that?
Because permanent naming rights are extremely valuable as advertising. For a one-time fee, they will advertise their name all over HSPVA, forever. Bio's of successful graduates will refer to their education at "Kinder HSPVA." The positive name recognition is intended to be self-perpetuating and never-ending.
When did they decide and who decided that the school name is changing to Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts?
HSPVA Friends and the Kinder Foundation (Nancy and Richard Kinder) wrote a contract to give HISD $7.5 million in exchange for the name. The contract was approved by HISD trustees with a vote of 7 to 2, only six days after it was made public. The Kinders told HISD they’d take away the money if the board didn’t vote right away. This was in October, 2016.
Why only six days? That doesn’t seem very long.
If they had given the community time to think about it, talk about it, and read the contract, it might not have passed. So they made sure there was no time for that. They did not get any community input beforehand, either. They did not ask students, parents, staff or alumni, whether they would support a name change for money. They DID ask certain ones to write letters and speak in favor of the proposal AFTER it became public‚ie, during the six days.
Did the Kinders go to HSPVA, or did their children go there?
No. They have given HSPVA Friends money in the past, but very small amounts compared to this.