The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday voted to set aside $4 million for a comprehensive facilities assessment designed to identify buildings in need of repair or improvement.
The assessment will provide HISD with a database of information about facilities across the district, including the condition of each facility, needed repairs and potential costs. The information contained in the database, which could be easily updated, would help district officials plan for future capital investments.
The district’s last comprehensive facilities assessment was conducted in 2006 with a follow-up assessment completed in 2012, prior to the passage of HISD’s $1.89 billion bond program.
“It’s important that we continually review district facilities to ensure we’re providing the very best schools for our students,” HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said. “A comprehensive assessment allows us to take stock of our buildings, and develop a plan to address any potential issues.”
Trustees voted on the comprehensive facilities assessment on Thursday night at the February board meeting. Also on Thursday, trustees:
- Voted to approve a measure allowing the district to spend $8 million on improvements and repairs at Westbury High School. The money will be used to develop athletic fields on a seven-acre parcel of land acquired by the HISD in 2010, and make structural repairs to the gym and student dining areas. The $8 million budgeted for these items is in addition to the $40 million budgeted for partial replacement and general renovations at the school, as outlined in the voter-approved 2012 bond program.
- Voted to approve the final reading of a policy designed to provide additional academic weight to college-credit courses, which HISD offers through partnerships with colleges and universities. College-credit courses, also called dual credit courses, provide students with the opportunity to earn high school and college credit at the same time.
General courses are ranked on a standard 4.0 scale. Weighted courses are ranked on a 5.0 scale, allowing students the possibility of earning additional credit because of the increased rigor. Additional weight already is given to students taking honors classes, as well as college-level Advanced Placement, Pre-Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program courses. Weighting the dual credit courses is designed to provide equity amongst students taking these rigorous, advanced courses that provide college credit.
Policy changes must be approved twice before they go into effect. Trustees approved the first reading of this new policy in January.
- Honored legendary Yates High School Football Coach Luther Malachi Booker and celebrated his recent induction into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame. Booker, who died in 1994, was the head football coach at Yates from 1971 to 1988. In those years, his teams won 13 district titles, made it to the state semifinals three times, and won a state championship in 1985. That year, the Lions even beat the favored team, Odessa Permian, 37-0, ending the season with a perfect 16-0 record. Thirty of the 36 seniors on the 1985 squad received college scholarships, 19 played four years of college football, 21 earned degrees, and five played for the NFL.