HISD Board of Education postpones vote on plans to reduce classroom overcrowding

[su_box title=”UPDATE” style=”soft” box_color=”#CA602C” title_color=”#ffffff” radius=”5″]Proposals to reduce classroom overcrowding have been withdrawn from HISD board agenda and won’t be voted on tonight. More details to come.[/su_box]

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday will consider making adjustments to a handful of elementary school attendance boundaries in an effort to reduce classroom overcrowding.

The trustees will review a modified proposal that gives all currently enrolled students — and incoming kindergarten students — the option to attend the school to which they are currently zoned. All other students who are enrolling for the first time for the 2015-2016 school year will fall under the newly drawn boundaries.

The revised proposal also calls for Shadowbriar Elementary School, which currently serves grades 3 through 5, to become a pre-k through 5 magnet school without a designated attendance zone. The school would serve as an additional neighborhood school option for students who are zoned for neighboring Bush, Daily, Ashford and Askew elementary schools. It also would serve as an overflow campus for these same schools.

The proposal is an effort to relieve anticipated overcrowding in the coming years and comply with state law, which requires kindergarten through fourth-grade classes to have no more than 22 students per classroom. Classes that exceed that number must request a state waiver.

This school year, HISD had to submit nearly 1,500 class-size waiver requests to the Texas Education Agency because the district was out of compliance. District officials aim to cut that number in half by the 2015-2016 school year, with plans to continue the decrease incrementally through 2019.

In addition to boundary adjustments, HISD also is considering ways to improve internal practices such as limiting the number of students each school may accept from outside its own neighborhood, adding a layer of additional scrutiny to the waiver request process and eliminating waivers for district charter schools.

The plans were first presented to trustees in January. The district held a series of community meeting in February to explain the plans to parents and gather their feedback. Administrators have since been using that input to fine-tune the proposal, which formally will be submitted to the board on Thursday, during its regular monthly meeting.

If approved by the Board of Education, the proposals would take effect for the 2015-2016 school year.

The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, 2015, in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th Street. Click hereto view the full agenda.

The board meeting will be broadcast live on HISD-TV (Comcast Channel 18 or AT&T Channel 99) and online at www.hisdtv.org.