HISD Board approves $12 million reimbursement, STAAR test changes at meeting

More than $12 million in expenses related to COVID-19 will be reimbursed to the Houston Independent School District.

At its regular meeting this week, the HISD Board of Trustees approved the reimbursement funds through the CARES Act. The funds will reimburse numerous costs including technology, supplies, and distance learning materials required during the pandemic.

Trustees also approved allowing K-12 virtual students to take the STAAR test on campus while in-person students not scheduled to take the STAAR learn remotely. The waiver reduces the number of students who would otherwise be on campus during the STAAR test, making it easier to increase physical distancing while administering the exam.

Trustees voted to rename portions of Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Lamar and Washington high schools. Libraries, gymnasiums, and other vital areas of schools will be named for alumni, community leaders, and supporters.

The Black Box Theatre at Kinder HSPVA will be named for Chandra Wilson, a 1987 graduate. Wilson is best known for her 16-year role as Dr. Miranda Bailey in the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The Washington High School auditorium will be named the Senfronia Thompson Auditorium. Thompson is a member of the class of 1957. She has served longer than any other woman as a member of the Texas House of Representatives.

The board also approved the purchase of musical instruments to support piano, band, choir, orchestra, mariachi, jazz, guitar, and other related programs. The district will spend up to $6 million on instruments.