HISD Board of Education trustees are hosting a series of community town hall meetings with newly appointed Superintendent Richard Carranza as a way to introduce the new leader to the community, solicit input from stakeholders about the district’s future, and learn about key issues across HISD.
Work on the bond project to rebuild Davis High School is slated to begin this summer when construction gets underway on a parking lot off Tackaberry Street.
That new lot is part of an expansion plan for the Near Northside campus, and the first step in a three-phase project that will bring two additions and renovations to create a newly modernized school for 1,500 to 1,700 students.
“We’re basically working from the left of the campus to the right,” Architect Mark French of the IBI Group, told more than 40 people who turned out Thursday for a meeting to get the latest updates on the historic school.
Davis Principal Julissa Alcantar-Martinez opened the meeting by thanking the school community, especially the Project Advisory Team, for working together to move the project forward and to advocate for the best facility possible for students.
“They have stuck with this for three years even when it hasn’t been easy,” she said, noting that the school received $19 million in additional funding in December because of that support.
Parents get answers to questions about proposed changes to attendance boundaries
Thousands of parents and community members turned out at a series of community meetings this week to provide parents with an overview of proposals designed to reduce classroom overcrowding at certain elementary schools.
The proposal for each school was discussed during regional meetings that took place on Tuesday, Feb. 17, and Thursday, Feb. 19. District officials will use the feedback to finalize the proposals and present them to the HISD Board of Education in March. If approved, the changes would be implemented for fall 2015.
Options under consideration include attendance boundary adjustments, program enhancements, and limiting the number of students each school may accept from outside its own neighborhood. District officials are also considering ways to improve internal practices such as adding a layer of additional scrutiny to the waiver request process and eliminating waivers for district charter schools.
The proposals would primarily affect new, incoming students. Current students would be grandfathered and allowed to stay at their current schools when possible.
The move is a result of a directive from the Texas Education Agency, 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 TEA. District officials aim to cut that number in half by the 2015-2016 school year, with plans to continue the decrease incrementally through 2019.
Here is a list of the meetings that took place and the schools that may be affected by proposed boundary changes:
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 6 to 8 p.m.
Briar Forest Area Community Meeting
Location: Revere MS, 10502 Briar Forest
Affected Schools: Ashford, Askew, Bush, Daily, Emerson, Shadowbriar, Walnut Bend
Northwest Area Community Meeting
Location: Waltrip HS, 1900 West 34th St.
Affected Schools: Crockett, Highland Heights, Love, Memorial, Sinclair, Smith, Stevens
288 Corridor Community Meeting
Location: Attucks MS, 4330 Bellfort
Affected Schools: Bastian, Kelso, Young
Thursday, Feb. 19, 6 to 8 p.m.
Northline Area Community Meeting
Location: Sam Houston MSTC, 9400 Irvington Blvd.
Affected Schools: Burbank, Lyons, Northline
Tinsley and Halpin Area Community Meeting
Location: Tinsley ES, 11035 Bob White Dr.
Affected Schools: Anderson, Tinsley, Halpin ECC
Medical Center Area Community Meeting*
Location: Pershing MS, 3838 Blue Bonnet Blvd.
Affected Schools: The Rice School, Roberts, Twain, West University
*Only programmatic changes under consideration.
The proposals for each school are available online: http://www.houstonisd.org/Page/125328
HISD has scheduled 10 public meetings to gather community input on a plan to add 19 minutes to the average student’s school day by coordinating the bell schedule among the district’s 279 schools.
If approved, the extra 19 minutes of daily instructional time would be equal to an extra seven full days of school by the end of the school year. In addition, the plan would save HISD $1.2 million as the district seeks to address a $34 million deficit caused by the Texas Legislature’s decision last year to cut public funding.
Under this plan, every HISD school would have an instructional day that is 7 ½ hours long. Currently, HISD schools have about 20 different start and end times. Under the option presented, schools would operate on the following bell schedule:
- Approximately half of all elementary schools would operate from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Approximately half of all elementary schools would operate from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- All middle schools would operate from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
- All high schools would operate from 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The cost savings in this plan would come from a much more efficient school bus operation that would allow many buses to drive more routes than is currently possible. However before a final decision is made, HISD will be gathering input at a series of community meetings held in locations throughout the district. Principals are also being asked to meet with their communities to gather additional input.
The public meetings are scheduled for the following dates and locations:
- April 3 (Tuesday) – 6-7 p.m.
- Austin HS (1700 Dumble)
- Bellaire HS (5100 Maple Street)
- Chavez HS (8501 Howard)
- April 4 (Wednesday) – 6-7 p.m.
- Lamar HS (3325 Westheimer)
- Sharpstown HS (7504 Bissonnet)
- Waltrip HS – (1900 West 34th )
- April 9 (Monday) – Noon-1 p.m.
- Hattie Mae Educational Support Center (4400 W. 18th Street)
- April 10 (Tuesday) – 6-7 p.m.
- Wheatley HS (4801 Providence)
- Worthing HS (9215 Scott)
- Yates HS (3703 Sampson)
HISD has created an online survey for parents, students, and community members to provide feedback for the proposal. The survey also includes an open comment section. It can be found on the website http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HISDTimeSurvey.
HISD administration plans to analyze all of this feedback before making a formal proposal for the Board of Education’s consideration by May 17. A detailed description of the plan can be found on the district’s website www.houstonisd.org.