A number of HISD principals say students and staff at their schools are celebrating one day after voters approved the Houston Schools Bond.[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/53017653 w=500&h=281] Continue reading
Measure passes by better than 2-1 margin
Thirty-eight Houston Independent School District campuses, including 28 of the city’s high schools, will be rebuilt or renovated under a bond proposition that won voter approval by better than a 2-1 margin on Tuesday.
The $1.89 billion measure passed with overwhelming support, earning 69 percent voter approval, according to unofficial results tabulated by the Harris County Clerk’s office. More than 312,000 ballots were cast in the election.
“Houston voters sent a message today that all children, regardless of where they live, deserve to attend quality school in quality buildings that offer our great teachers the tools they need to prepare students for a successful future,” said Trustee Michael Lunceford, president of the HISD Board of Education. “The new schools that will be built because of this vote will benefit today’s students, their future children, and even their grandchildren.”
HISD asked voters to consider the bond proposition after an independent evaluation of the district’s facilities showed that the average Houston high school is more than 50 years old and lacks the proper infrastructure to support modern technology and teaching strategies. The evaluation found that the cost of maintaining these deteriorating schools would soon surpass the replacement cost. Past HISD bond measures, including the 2007 plan that was passed with 51 percent of the vote, have focused on the district’s elementary and middle schools.
Because of the large amount of construction included in the 2012 bond proposition, HISD will spread the work out over the next six to eight years. This approach will help control costs and allow the district to gradually phase in a 4.85-cent property tax rate increase over the next five years. The district will soon seek bids from firms interested in performing the architectural design and engineering work on the first batch of projects. The list of school projects to be included in the first phase of construction is being developed with an eye toward breaking ground on at least one project in each geographic district within HISD around the same time. Construction work is expected to begin in 2014. Click here for more details about the 2012 bond package.
“When this work is finished, Houston will boast the most modern portfolio of urban high school campuses in America,” Superintendent Terry Grier said. “For years, HISD has been a national model for other urban school districts that are striving to simultaneously close the achievement gap while raising the level of achievement of all students, including the highest performers. Thanks to Houston’s voters, we will finally have quality campuses to fully support our students’ strong academic progress.”
Projects funded though the bond proposition include:
New campuses for 20 high schools
- High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
- North Early College
- Sam Houston
- South Early College
Partially replacing 4 high schools
- Young Men’s College Prep Academy
- Young Women’s College Prep Academy
Renovating 4 high schools
- Sharpstown International
Converting 5 elementary schools into K-8 campuses
- Garden Oaks Montessori
- Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion School at Gordon
- Pilgrim Academy
- Wharton Dual Language School
- Wilson Montessori
Building 3 new elementary school campuses
- Relief school on the west side
Replacing/completing 2 new middle school campuses
- Grady (new addition to complete new campus)
- Dowling (new campus)
In addition, the bond includes funds that would improve conditions for students in all HISD schools. This includes:
- $100 million for district-wide technology improvements
- $44.7 million to replace regional field houses and improve athletic facilities
- $35 million to renovate middle school restrooms
- $17.3 million for district-wide safety and security improvements
The Board of Education has also agreed to rebuild two schools – Condit Elementary and High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice – either through the sale of surplus district property, or by using any potential leftover bond funds.
Historic neighborhood schools and prestigious schools of choice to be replaced
HISD will now completely rebuild some of Houston’s most historic neighborhood high schools across the city. Some replacement schools will maintain their existing building structures while their interiors are transformed. These schools include Austin, Davis, Lamar, and Milby. The remaining replacement schools, including Yates, Washington, and Lee, will be demolished and replaced with entirely new buildings. New campuses are also in the works for some of HISD’s prestigious specialty schools, including the nationally renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, and Eastwood Academy. All three schools made this year’s Children at Risk list of the Houston region’s Top 10 high schools.
The new HSPVA will be built downtown near Houston’s vaunted Theater District on land that HISD already owns at 1300 Capitol. DeBakey, meanwhile, will be relocated to property within the Texas Medical Center.
Each campus included in the bond package will have a Project Advisory Team made up of staff, parents, and community members, who will have input in the design and construction process to ensure that each school’s unique needs are addressed.
New schools to support continued academic achievement
Houston ISD students have made great strides in the classroom over the past several years. Click here to read more about the strong academic progress being made by HISD students.
“We know that what happens inside our classrooms is more important than the physical classrooms themselves. Our work to put effective teachers in every classroom and strong principals in every school is paying off,” Dr. Grier said.
HISD’s dropout and graduation rates are at record levels after four consecutive years of moving in the right direction. Hundreds more Houston students are scoring at the college-ready level on the SAT than at any other time in the district’s history. The same goes for the number of HISD students earning college credit through tough Advanced Placement exams, which is up 45 percent since 2009. And this year, Houston was the only Texas school district to be among the four finalists for the nation’s most prestigious education award: the Broad Prize for Urban Education.
Find your Election Day polling location and view a sample ballot
Election Day, Nov. 6, will soon be here and voters will head to numerous locations across the city to cast their votes. Don’t miss your chance to vote on the 2012 Houston Schools Bond Proposition – it’s at the very end of the ballot. The $1.89 billion proposition would rebuild or renovate 38 schools in neighborhoods across Houston and upgrade technology in all HISD classrooms.
With Halloween right around the corner, things are getting a little spooky around the district. Photos of zombies in front of various HISD high schools are popping up all over Twitter and Facebook. In addition to their frightening appearance, the ghoulish creatures are holding “Zombies Vote Early” signs. Continue reading
Check out the photo gallery below to see what students and school communities are doing to make early voting awareness a top priority.
First-time voters are being celebrated during a special event Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the Ripley House Neighborhood Center that is expected to draw dozens of HISD high school students and their parents.
The Voter Education and Citizenship Celebration, sponsored in part by Univision 45 and Mi Familia Vota, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the neighborhood center, located at 4410 Navigation.
The goal is to celebrate new voters and help them understand the electoral process.
Joining the event will be students and parents from Jones, Milby, North Houston Early College, Chavez, Austin, Sam Houston, and Lee high schools. Teams of students from each of the schools will call eligible voters across Houston as part of a “High Schools Unite” phone bank from 6 to 7 p.m.
Ripley House has already been drawing thousands of people for early voting over the past week and organizers hope Tuesday’s event will encourage even more people to cast their ballots.
The HISD bond proposition is located at the end of the ballot, and students will be reminding voters to finish their ballots.
In an effort to reach out to eligible voters across the city and provide them information on the HISD 2012 bond proposal, which is the last item on the ballot, the Houston Independent School District is hosting a bond information phone bank on Univision 45.
Dozens of experts on the HISD bond proposition will be on hand to take calls from viewers on Monday, October 29 from 7 to 10:30 p.m.
Tune in to Univision 45 for the HISD Bond phone bank and hear from principals and parents talk about the needs of their schools and current campus conditions.
Volunteers include HISD school improvement officers, principals and administrators. The purpose of this phone bank is to ensure that all Houston voters are well informed on the 2012 HISD bond proposal when they go to the polling sites.
There will be bilingual volunteers ready to take your calls in English or Spanish. For more information on the HISD Bond, call the phone bank on Monday, October 29 from 7 to 10:30 pm at 713 390-5956.
HISD’s $1.89 billion plan would rebuild or renovate 38 schools across the city and help improve conditions for students in all HISD schools, if approved by voters on November 6.
For more information on the HISD bond, visit www.houstonisd.org/2012bond.
WHAT: The Houston Independent School District is encouraging voters to head to the polls early and to cast their vote for every item on the ballot – from the first to the last.
Starting Friday, Oct. 26 HISD is hosting live and digital events designed to celebrate first time voters and to educate the community regarding the district’s bond referendum to modernize and rebuild schools throughout Houston.
WHEN & WHERE: Fri., Oct. 26 from noon – 1 p.m.
- Live Web Chat
HISD will have a web chat to discuss the plan to rebuild and modernize the city’s high schools, as well as provide safety and technology upgrades at campuses across the district. Questions may be sent in advance via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mon., Oct. 29 from 7 – 10:30 p.m.
- Univision Phone Bank – Linea Abierta 45
5100 Southwest Freeway
HISD will have a team of bond experts ready to answer calls from viewers on the bond proposal and the schools that would be affected. The team will have bilingual representatives able to answer questions in English and Spanish.
Tues., Oct. 30 from 4 – 6 p.m.
- Voter Forum at Neighborhood Centers Ripley House
4410 Navigation Boulevard
Motivate students from the nearby HISD schools to attend the event with their families, visit the early voting location and cast their votes for the first time.
Tues., Oct. 30 from 10 – 10:40 a.m.
- Twitter Town Hall
Participate in a live Twitter Town Hall session with Houston Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier where he will answer questions and respond to comments and concerns regarding the HISD Bond Referendum. Follow us at @HoustonISD and #HISDbond
Wed., Oct. 31 from 4 – 5p.m.
- Zombie Walk and “Thriller” Vote Early Flash Mob
1475 West Gray
Capture HISD’s own zombies from HSPVA and Lamar High School as they encourage the living to vote early as they walk from the West Gray/Montrose intersection to the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center (1475 West Gray) where they will culminate their walk with a zombie “Thriller” flash mob at 4:30 p.m.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/51682389 w=500&h=281]
Need inspiration to vote? Check out these videos from Martin Luther King, Jr. Early Childhood Center, where getting students to understand the importance of voting was a matter of showing them what it’s all about through song and dance.
The Houston Independent School District is launching a campus-based voter registration drive as part of an effort to teach students the importance of participating in the democratic process. HISD will kick off this drive on Thursday, April 19 at 10 a.m. at Waltrip High School (1900 West 34th).
“Texas had one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country for young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 in 2008, and it is our responsibility as a district to change those statistics,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. “Democracy thrives when our schools produce an educated society.”
All HISD high school principals have been deputized to register eligible voters. In addition, an official from the Harris County Tax Assessor’s Office trained all HISD high school principals on the proper protocol to follow when collecting voter registration cards on campus.
“As a principal, I am thrilled to be able to assist the district with these efforts. We also welcome our parents and community members to come here and register to vote,” said Waltrip Principal Steve Siebenaler. “This drive will further complement what is already being taught in our classrooms.”
HISD social studies teachers have been emphasizing the importance of civic participation through voting and other means in class.
“The importance of voter registration is a key component in the U.S. government course offered to all high school seniors,” said Angela Miller, HISD curriculum manager. “Students learn about the rights and responsibilities of participatory citizenship in our democratic republic.”
There are almost 19,000 high school students between 17 and 18 years of age who are or will be eligible to vote soon. All HISD high schools will have voter registration cards available on campus to encourage all eligible students to register to vote. Parents and members of the community can also register to vote at their nearby high school during regular school hours.
To be eligible to vote, individuals must be a U.S. citizen and be 18 years old by election day.