Category Archives: Board of Education

HISD mourns loss of former First Lady and literacy champion Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush reads to kindergartners at Poe Elementary School in October 2015.

It is with sorrow that we regard the passing of Mrs. Barbara Bush. It is with joy that we celebrate a life so well lived and an exemplary model of advocacy for children.

Her vigorous pursuit of literacy for all children is indeed but a small testament to the person she was and to what she stood for.

Mrs. Bush’s literacy efforts will live through many generations of well-read children who as adults will instill those skills in their children thereby sustaining her never ending legacy.

The HISD Board of Education sends our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of First Lady Barbara Bush and will always be grateful for their sharing her with us and the many children she served.

HISD Board of Education passes resolution calling for action on school safety

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education during its regular April meeting voted to approve a resolution calling for federal action related to school shootings.

Trustees voted 8 to 0 to approve the resolution that acknowledges the Board of Education stands with the students of Broward County Public Schools, and students across the country including HISD in demanding effective and comprehensive action from the federal government to protect schoolchildren. The resolution includes a call for Congress to appropriate adequate new funds to allow the nation’s school districts to plan and coordinate school security efforts with law enforcement officials and make changes to buildings that may be necessary to protect students, teachers, and staff. Continue reading

HISD Board of Education to consider resolution calling for action on school safety

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday will consider a resolution calling for federal action related to school shootings.

The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, 2018, in the Manuel Rodríguez Jr. Board Auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St. Click here to view the full agenda.

Trustees are expected to consider a resolution acknowledging the Board stands with the students of Broward County Public Schools and students across the country, including HISD, in demanding effective and comprehensive action from the federal government to protect schoolchildren. Continue reading

HISD Board of Education to consider reduction in force

‘Critical shortage’ positions eliminated from list of positions eligible for RIF

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday will consider a reduction in force for certain term- and continuing-contract employees.

The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, 2018 in the Manuel Rodríguez Jr. Board Auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St. Click here to view the full agenda.

Trustees are expected to consider the two annual reduction in force (RIF) agenda items related to being able to execute a reduction in force of teachers and other campus-based employees, as well as certain central office employees who hold term and continuing contracts. These agenda items were originally scheduled for consideration at the Board’s February meeting, however trustees voted to delay a vote until March. Continue reading

HISD Board joined by mayor, lawmakers with message of unity for Houston’s children 

HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said Tuesday that the departure of Superintendent Richard Carranza does not change the vision and mission of the district, which remains committed to delivering a quality education to all children “in a unified way.”

“We are one vision, and that is to ensure IR (Improvement Required) schools come off IR, that we don’t have any additional schools go into IR, and that we can use our use limited dollars in a way that does the least harm to impact our classrooms,” Skillern-Jones said.

Superintendent Carranza accepts new role in NYC

She delivered the message standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow trustees, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, state Rep. Alma Allen, and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. All emphasized that the city, state, and federal government have a role to play in ensuring the success of the district, and that the district is more than one person.  Continue reading

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza accepts new role in NYC

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza on Monday announced his decision to end his tenure as the leader of Texas’ largest school district.

Carranza assumed his role as superintendent with unanimous Board of Education approval in August 2016, promising to improve student academic achievement, provide student support through wraparound services, and create a system of equity for the district’s 284 schools.

“It has been an honor and privilege to have served the students of the Houston Independent School District and bring a voice to communities that have historically been underserved,” Carranza said. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce my departure as I embark on this new journey. I am looking forward to the opportunity of serving the 1.1 million students in New York City. I am forever grateful to the people of Houston for allowing me to be a part of this great city.”

While Carranza leaves in the midst of HISD facing several challenges, we are confident in the ability to overcome those challenges with viable solutions.

“We the Board wish Carranza the best in his endeavors and appreciate the leadership he brought to this district,” said President Rhonda Skillern-Jones. “We are committed to continuing the work he began and moving the district forward.”

The Board will meet on Thursday to discuss next steps.

HISD budget deficit projection reduced to $115 million

Click here for details

As HISD continues to prepare a budget for the 2018-19 school year, the district anticipates a projected deficit reduction from $208 million to $115 million. This revised deficit includes several budget assumptions related to Hurricane Harvey relief and pending litigation.

When HISD first began budgeting for the 2018-2019 school year, it was in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Using a worst-case scenario, the district’s financial team projected a $208 million deficit based on four dynamic factors: the Local Optional Homestead Exemption (LOHE) lawsuit, a recapture payment to the state, a potential property tax value decreaseand an anticipated student enrollment decline. District administrators crafted a revised budget outlook for the 2018-19 school year.

Community meetings scheduled on budget deficit

The district’s legal team feels confident that the state will prevail in the LOHE lawsuit. For HISD, this means a reduction in its recapture payment because the TEA will recognize half of the 20 percent local homestead exemption given to homeowners. A decision in the lawsuit could come after a hearing this spring. A win would reduce HISD’s recapture payment by $51 million.

Under the Texas Education Code, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath has the authority to adjust property values. Based on the damage sustained from Hurricane Harvey and the lasting impact of the storm on our students and staff, we anticipate the commissioner will adjust property values, which in turn, would reduce our recapture payment. Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and other state leaders have publicly stated their support for this action. Click here to review a September 2017 press release from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that confirms his support for schools districts in Region IV impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which includes HISD. In addition, Commissioner Morath surveyed school districts after the hurricane to gather projections on their property tax collections post-Harvey. HISD estimates a $42 million adjustment for property value loss associated with Hurricane Harvey.

In addition, the HISD Board of Education favors a district budget performance review to be conducted by a firm that has previously worked with large school district budgets. An agenda item is anticipated for the April 2018 board meeting. If approved, an immediate audit would begin with a completion date set for the end of the year.

District IX community meeting planned for March 20 

HISD District IX Trustee Wanda Adams will discuss the district’s 2018-2019 budget during a community meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 at Westbury High School (11911 Chimney Rock, Houston 77035).

Trustee Adams will also discuss the difficult choices the district faces regarding improvement required campuses, HB 1842, and SB 1882. Questions from the audience are welcome.

The meeting will end with a tour of Westbury High School.

Personal stories exemplify how HISD is rebuilding, reimagining education

‘We could be anywhere, and we would still be Robinson’

If anyone could find a silver lining amid the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey, it’s Robinson Elementary School Principal Paige Fernandez-Hohos. After being flooded with more than a foot of water, Robinson was relocated and students split between two adjacent campuses. Though not ideal, the situation made Fernandez-Hohos determined to give students a sense of normalcy. Vacant rooms and hallways sprung to life with decorations. Auditorium and gym spaces were transformed into cozy classrooms to accommodate more students. Fernandez-Hohos trekked back and forth between the two campuses. If she started the day welcoming students at one school, she ended it saying goodbye to students at the other. It was important, she said, that every class see her every day. Robinson students returned to their home campus in January, but Fernandez-Hohos said the storm taught her a valuable lesson about the spirit of her school: “When everything else is stripped away, all you’re left with is the bond between teachers and students. We could be anywhere, and we would still be Robinson.”

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HISD Board of Education approves contract for construction of four Harvey-damaged schools

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a construction contract for the rebuilding of four elementary schools — Braeburn, Scarborough, Kolter, and Mitchell — severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

Trustees authorized district officials to negotiate and execute a Construction Manager-At-Risk — more commonly known as CMAR — contract with Satterfield & Pontikes Construction. A CMAR contract requires the contractor to commit to completing a project within a guaranteed maximum price. Though that price has not yet been negotiated, the agenda item states that the total cost of the project is not to exceed the project budget. Continue reading