Category Archives: Board of Education

HISD Board of Education approves special education program review

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a proposal to select American Institutes for Research to implement a comprehensive Special Education Program Review.

In preparation for the 2017-18 school year, and in response to feedback from the community and HISD staff, HISD is re-evaluating how it delivers special education services to students and families. The Special Education Program Review will help the district’s efforts to improve special education services. Continue reading

HISD hosting special education parent forums 

District taking look at how to better provide services

HISD is inviting parents to three special education forums where they can ask questions and provide comments as part of a broader effort to reform special education services in the district.

The meetings will be hosted by the HISD Office of Special Education Services, which supports students with disabilities in gaining college and career readiness and independent living skills through active engagement in grade level curriculum. Continue reading

HISD Board of Education names new chief audit executive

Garland Blackwell

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education has selected Garland W. Blackwell as the district’s new chief audit executive.

Mr. Blackwell most recently served as an internal audit director for Parsons, a global engineering services firm, where he established and directed the internal audit process for its regional offices in the Middle East and Africa. He has more than 25 years of internal audit and financial experience.

“The HISD Board of Education is pleased to welcome Mr. Blackwell to our district,” said HISD Board President Wanda Adams. “He is an accomplished internal auditor who will provide critical oversight of the district and recommendations for improvement that will safeguard district resources and support our core values. It has been a priority of our board and audit committee to fill this position to ensure that integrity and transparency are maintained across the district.”

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HISD Board of Education approves plan to establish an internal disciplinary alternative education program

March 10, 2017 – The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a proposal to establish an internal disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP) for secondary students for the 2017-2018 school year based on a timeline and benchmarks prepared by district administration.

Currently, the district’s DAEP services are provided to secondary students by Camelot Schools of Texas, LLC. The district’s contract with Camelot is set to expire on June 30.

“Thank you to Camelot,” said HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, who had an opportunity to visit the Camelot facility this week. “There wasn’t one individual that I met that did not have the best of interest of our students in mind. But at the end of the day, these are our children. Every student will be educated in HISD by HISD teachers, principals, counselors, behavioralists, and support personnel.” Continue reading

HISD board to receive overview of financial impact of recapture and detachment of commercial property on district

The Houston Independent School District Office of Budgeting and Financial Planning will make a presentation on the financial impact of recapture and detachment of commercial property on the district to the HISD Board of Education during the board’s monthly meeting on Thursday.

Last month, the board voted to call a May 6 election to ask voters if the district should pay its recapture obligation to the State of Texas by sending lower recapture payments to the state or through detachment of commercial property in July.

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Houston ISD opposes school vouchers

Voucher programs such as education savings accounts or tax credit scholarships threaten the district’s school choice efforts

The 2017 Texas Legislative Session is underway, and state lawmakers are discussing school choice.

As a district of choice, Houston ISD is among many districts throughout the state to offer a multitude of academic options to parents and students. However, a voucher system – in the form of education savings accounts or tax credit scholarships – would disrupt what school districts like Houston ISD are already doing to provide choice. In addition, vouchers would have a damaging impact on the state’s public school system which educates more than 5 million children in Texas.

Recently, House Public Education Committee Chairman Rep. Dan Huberty said his committee will not allow vouchers to move through the Texas House. HISD applauds Chairman Huberty, Speaker Joe Straus and members of the Texas House for their courage and for standing in the gap for Texas’ children.

“On behalf of the 215,000 students and 287 campuses at HISD, the district strongly opposes harmful school choice legislation,” said HISD Board of Education President Wanda Adams. “We are grateful for the work being done in the Texas House. The state’s constitution says, ‘It shall be the duty of the Legislature to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.’”

Nearly 80 percent of HISD’s students are economically disadvantaged and one-third are learning English.

HISD operates 119 magnet programs at 110 schools districtwide. Like many districts, Houston ISD offers choice from Pre-K through 12th grade to all children. HISD has high-performing magnet schools, charter schools, early college high schools, early childhood centers and a virtual school.

In 2016, 37 of HISD’s high schools were recognized among the most academically rigorous schools in the U.S. by the Washington Post. The district also is a two-time winner of the National Broad Prize, an honor awarded to urban school districts for closing the achievement gap.

“The Legislature’s main focus is to make sure the public school system works well,” said HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza. “HISD is ready to do our part to boost student achievement and sustain high-quality choice programs for Houston’s children.”

HISD superintendent urges business community, state lawmakers to invest in every child

HISD Board President Wanda Adams says investment in our students is the board’s top priority

Speaking before a sold-out crowd, HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza and HISD Board of Education President Wanda Adams urged business professionals and state lawmakers to see public education as an investment to ensure the future success of every student that walks through a school’s doors.

“I am here to tell you that we must invest in every child,” Carranza said. “Regardless of where they live, where they were born, the color of their skin, their religion, or the language they speak. Every child at every school deserves a high-quality education that prepares them for a successful future … They are our future leaders, engineers, entrepreneurs, computer programmers. They are the fulfillment of Houston’s enormous potential.” Continue reading

HISD trustees approve election after TEA significantly reduces recapture for homestead exemption

TEA will now recognize half of the local homestead exemption in recapture calculations for districts statewide. HISD voters could stop detachment of property in July.

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday voted to call a May 6 election to ask voters to authorize sending lower recapture payments to the state rather than face detachment of commercial property in July. A May 6 election must be called by Feb. 17.  The swift timing allows the district to follow the deadlines set by the state and Harris County.

Previously, HISD’s recapture obligation was estimated at $162 million. Under the Texas Education Agency’s recent announcement of recognizing half of the local homestead exemption, along with adjustments made to student enrollment and property value figures, HISD is now subject to a reduced $77.5 million recapture obligation or the removal of about $8 billion dollars’ worth of non-residential, commercial properties from HISD’s tax roll.

HISD’s Board Trustees Wanda Adams, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Anna Eastman, Mike Lunceford, and Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca voted for the approval of election. Trustees Diana Dávila, Jolanda Jones, and Manuel Rodriguez did not vote in favor of the item. Trustee Anne Sung abstained from voting. The ballot item in May, if passed, would stop the detachment and reassignment of commercial property and authorize the district to send lower recapture payments to the state than those earlier projected. If the measure fails, detachment would begin in July of 2017, unless the Legislature takes action before it adjourns on May 29. Continue reading

HISD Board of Education approves resolution that supports undocumented students

Resolution also opposes any travel ban proposed by the federal government  

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approves a resolution in support of the district’s immigrant community affected by the recent actions of the state and federal government related to immigrants and undocumented individuals in the United States. Continue reading

HISD Trustees and Superintendent heading to Austin to discuss school finance solutions

Members of the HISD Board of Education and Superintendent Richard Carranza will spend two full days in Austin this week, collaborating with top state leaders to address changes to Texas’ school finance system.

Board President Wanda Adams, trustees Anna Eastman, Michael Lunceford, and Rhonda Skillern-Jones, along with Superintendent Richard Carranza will have scheduled meetings on Wednesday and Thursday with state leaders and members of HISD’s legislative delegation in Austin.

“The HISD Board of Education and administration are united in our desire to work constructively with our state leaders to identify funding solutions that put children first,” Adams said. “We all agree that Texas’ school finance system was never intended to take classroom resources from our state’s most needy children.” Continue reading