Tag Archives: proposal

HISD Board of Education to Vote on Proposal to Buy 4,110 Laptops to Aid in Reading Instruction

Initiative to benefit 115 schools district wide

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on a $5.7 million proposal to add 4,110 laptops at 115 schools in an effort to aid in reading instruction.  The meeting begins at 5 p.m. on December 13, 2012 in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th Street).

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Superintendent Grier thanks principals after bond passes by more than 2-1 margin

Superintendent Terry Grier says approval of the Houston Schools Bond will transform the city and impact millions of children for years to come. The measure passed by a more than 2-1 margin, based on early and absentee voting totals released Tuesday night by the Harris County Clerk’s Office.  “Everybody has such a great smile on their face. Isn’t this a great day to be in Houston, Texas?” Dr. Grier asked as he greeted principals at their regular monthly meeting. The crowd broke into applause and began cheering.

Thirty-eight schools, including 28 of the city’s high schools, will be rebuilt or renovated under the bond proposal. The superintendent thanked principals for their efforts to inform voters about the details of the proposal and said he strongly believes their efforts prompted overwhelming voter approval of the measure.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/53007135 w=500&h=282]

In addition to rebuilding and renovating schools, the Houston Schools Bond includes funds for districtwide technology upgrades, athletic facility improvements, middle school restroom renovations, and districtwide safety and security improvements. Superintendent Grier says the district has not yet decided the order in which facility needs will be addressed.

HISD Bond Package Would Rebuild High Schools, Address Campus Needs in Neighborhoods Across Houston

Forty-two schools across Houston, including 24 high schools, would be rebuilt, renovated, or renewed under a recommended bond package presented for the HISD Board of Education’s consideration on Thursday.

The board must decide by August whether to seek approval of the $1.89 billion proposal from Houston Independent School District voters during the Nov. 6 general election.

While including nearly $225 million in recommended projects that would benefit students at all 279 schools in the district, the proposed bond package focuses heavily on the city’s high schools. HISD’s most recent bond programs approved by voters in 1998, 2002 and 2007 have primarily addressed needs at the elementary school level.  The average age of HISD secondary schools now stands at 50 years, compared to 39 years for the district’s elementary schools. 

Many of these schools were designed to meet the needs of students in the 1950s and are no longer able to accommodate the best instructional approaches for helping today’s students meet rising academic expectations, according to independent school facilities experts who presented their findings to the board on Thursday.

Superintendent Terry Grier agreed the district’s high schools are long overdue for major improvements.

“Houston’s prosperity of today is rooted in the historic high schools erected generations ago by our city’s visionary leaders who knew the value of a solid long-term investment,” Dr. Grier said.  “Now is the time for today’s generation to step up and follow their lead.  Houston’s high schools should be places of pride for every neighborhood and, more importantly, the students they serve.  Just like the baby boomers of the 1950s, our children today deserve modern campuses that will bring real value to their neighborhoods for the 50 years to come.”

The proposed bond package would completely rebuild some of Houston’s most historic neighborhood high schools across the city, while others would undergo renovations and renewals.  The proposal also includes new campuses for some of HISD’s prestigious specialty magnet schools, including the nationally renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. The new HSPVA would be built downtown near Houston’s vaunted Theater District on land that HISD already owns at 1300 Capitol.


The proposal calls for $1.67 billion to be spent on improvements at 42 schools. This would cover:


  • $577 million to completely replace 8 high schools
    • Furr
    • High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
    • Lee
    • Madison
    • Sharpstown
    • Sterling
    • Booker T. Washington
    • Yates





  • $354 million to replace the inadequate facilities at 4 high schools
    • Bellaire
    • Lamar
    • Sam Houston
    • Westbury





  • $259 million to replace inadequate facilities and renovate 5 high schools
    • Austin
    • Eastwood Academy
    • Milby
    • Waltrip
    • Worthing





  • $27 million to build 2 new early college high schools
    • North Early College
    • South Early College





  • $61 million to renovate or renew 9 high schools
    • Davis
    • DeBakey
    • Jones
    • Barbara Jordan
    • Kashmere
    • Scarborough
    • Sharpstown International
    • Young Men’s College Prep
    • Young Women’s College Prep





  • $121 million to convert 4 elementary schools into K-8 campuses
    • Garden Oaks
    • Pilgrim Academy
    • Wharton Dual Language
    • Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School at Gordon





  • $74 million to replace Dowling Middle School and expand Grady Middle School


  • $126 million to replace 5 elementary schools
    • Askew
    • Condit
    • Kelso
    • MacGregor
    • Parker





  • $67 million to renovate and make building additions at K. Smith Elementary, replace inadequate facilities and renovate Tijerina Elementary, and build a new elementary school on the district’s west end to reduce overcrowding


The proposed $225 million in district wide projects would cover:


  • Technology upgrades at all HISD schools ($100 million)
  • District athletic facility improvements ($42.7 million)
  • Middle school restroom renovations ($35 million)
  • Safety and security improvements ($27 million)
  • Land acquisition ($20 million)


Some of the schools recommended for major construction work are among those that had renovations under the 2007 bond program.  In many of those cases, the previously completed work will be incorporated into the new building design, said Leo Bobadilla, HISD’s Chief Operating Officer.


School community input included in plan


Earlier this spring, HISD hired Parsons — national specialists in the assessment, design, and project management of education facilities — to update the 2007 comprehensive assessment of the HISD’s facilities.  HISD principals were asked to engage their campus communities as they completed detailed surveys about the condition of their schools.  More than 3,300 parents, teachers, and community members representing 95 percent of the district’s schools participated in this feedback process.  Some of the specific facility issues raised by school communities in the surveys will be addressed outside of the recommended bond through HISD’s normal building maintenance program. 

Links to school community survey results for each campus, along with more details about the data that helped formulate the proposal, are posted online at houstonisd.org.

Using this school community input, existing data from 2007, and information about the condition of HISD campuses based on work completed since 2007, Parsons experts personally inspected dozens of schools and interviewed principals and plant operators to develop the list of campuses included in the bond proposal.  They took several factors into account while developing this list:


  • Overall building condition
  • Each school’s educational suitability and technology readiness
  • Enrollment projections and capacity
  • Community input


Even with the many projects included in the bond proposal, HISD schools still have many additional facility needs that remain unaddressed, according to the report presented to the board.  Those needs will be identified as HISD moves forward with developing a comprehensive long-range capital improvement plan.


Property tax implications


Because of the district’s strong fiscal management practices, HISD has been able to maintain the lowest property tax rate of the 20-plus school districts in Harris County. In addition, HISD is among the few districts in Texas that offer an optional 20 percent homestead exemption on top of the standard $15,000 exemption that other school districts offer.  This means that a home with a taxable value of $200,000 in another school district that doesn’t offer the optional 20 percent exemption would be taxed at a value of $160,000 in HISD (a 20 percent reduction).

If an election is called, and voters approve the bond package, HISD would likely adopt a property tax rate increase in the future.  This tax rate increase would have no impact on the homesteads of HISD residents age 65 and older, because their tax rates are frozen.

HISD estimates that the tax rate increase would be phased in over a 4-year period, beginning with an estimated 2-cent increase in 2014.  This would result in an additional $29 in taxes for the owner of a home valued at $200,000.  By 2017, the total tax rate increase resulting from the bond’s passage would reach 6.85 cents, raising the average tax bill by $99 a year, or $8.25 per month.

School construction and renovation work approved by HISD voters in 2007 is nearing completion under budget. So far, HISD has opened 16 new or replacement schools under that bond program, 6 more new schools are under construction, and 2 more are in the planning stage.  More than 100 HISD campuses have undergone renovations so far.  Click here for more detailed information about the work completed under the 2007 bond program.

HISD Superintendent Proposes Raises for Teachers, Staff in 2012-2013

All Houston ISD employees would receive pay increases ranging from 1.75 percent to 2.25 percent in 2012-2013 under a budget proposal presented to the Board of Education for consideration today.

HISD’s non-teaching staff last received a pay raise in 2009-2010, and some, but not all, teachers received a raise in 2010-2011. No employees received raises this school year. Superintendent Terry Grier asked the board to consider the pay increases in an effort to remain competitive with surrounding Houston-area school districts that have already proposed doing so.

The teacher pay issue is especially critical as HISD seeks to compete with other school districts who are attempting to fill teaching vacancies caused by resignations and retirements. Each year, HISD loses about 1,000 teachers through attrition. Under the proposal, teachers with 10 years or less of experience would receive a 2.25 percent pay raise, which would increase beginning teacher pay in HISD from $44,987 to $46,000. Teachers with more than 10 years of experience would receive a 1.75 percent pay raise.

Other employee groups would receive the following salary increases under the compensation proposal:

• School bus operators, hourly food services employees, and salaried departmental employees on the lower end of the pay scale: 2.25 percent
• Substitute teachers, hourly employees, principals, assistant principals, and deans: 2 percent
• Professional employees and upper-level administrators: 1.75 percent

HISD began the budgeting process facing a $43.6 million shortfall caused primarily by the Texas Legislature’s decision last year to reduce public education funding by $5.3 billion. HISD is among many Texas school districts that have filed a lawsuit seeking to force the state to fund schools at the constitutionally-mandated level.
The budget proposal includes maintaining HISD’s current tax rate, which is the lowest among all Harris County school districts.
The district would pay for the $20 million compensation proposal in part with $8.9 million from the district’s savings account, which currently stands at about $257 million. About $17 million of the shortfall would be covered by reducing the amount of general fund money that is normally transferred to HISD’s debt service fund to help repay loans. This reduction is a one-time option that will not be available in future years.
HISD has also identified several areas of potential savings for the upcoming school year. These include:

• $3.5 million in reduced employee healthcare costs through increased efficiencies that should not impact quality of service.
• $1.7 million less in special funding for six unique schools.
• $2.5 million in non-campus departmental cuts, primarily through eliminating positions and layoffs. Last year, HISD eliminated 221 non-campus positions.

Changes in Distribution of Funds for Low-Income Students

HISD was notified this month that the federal government will now require districts to send federal money intended to supplement the cost of educating children from low-income families to the neighborhood schools in those children’s attendance zones. In past years, HISD has allocated that money, called Title I funds, to the schools that qualifying children actually attend, even if those schools are not in those children’s neighborhoods.
As a result of this change, some HISD schools will receive less Title I money than they would have in the past, while other schools will receive more money. In general, schools that accept large numbers of transfer students from low-income families will lose funding, while schools in low-income neighborhoods that have lost students to other schools will receive additional funds. The most money any single school would lose is about $180,000.
The Board of Education is expected to adopt the 2012-2013 budget at a public meeting in June.