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Posts Tagged ‘HISD’

Interview with Juliet Stipeche

We wrap up our week of HISD candidate interviews with another incumbent. Juliet Stipeche is finishing up her first full term in District 8; she won a special election in 2010 to fill a vacancy left when then-Trustee Diana Davila (now her opponent this year) resigned. A civil litigation attorney and certified mediator, Stipeche is […]

No decision on interim Superintendent

The HISD Board of Trustees is still deciding how to proceed in the wake of Superintendent Terry Grier’s resignation. Trustee Anna Eastman said after [Tuesday’s board] meeting that she continues to have a lot of questions about how the job-order contracts have been administered. Among other things the audit showed that the district’s Construction and […]

Interview with Ann McCoy

I have one more interview to bring you in HISD District 4, which is being vacated by Paula Harris. Today’s candidate is Dr. Ann McCoy, making her first run for elected office. Dr. McCoy serves as Director of Data Services and Research for All Kids Alliance at the University of Houston. She has taught statistics […]

Interview with Jolanda Jones

We move on to District 4, which is being vacated by incumbent Paula Harris. I trust that Jolanda Jones is a familiar name to everyone reading this. Attorney, activist, former Alief Elsik and UH track star, Olympic trials qualifier, Survivor contestant, and two-term At Large City Council member, Jones is a well-known figure in Houston. […]

Interview with Ramiro Fonseca

HISD Trustee District 3 is a rematch of one of the uglier elections from 2011. Ramiro Fonseca is back to challenge incumbent Manuel Rodriguez again. The College Success Coordinator for Project GRAD Houston, Fonseca has a long history of service. He’s has served as President of the Houston Hispanic Forum, the Clean Houston Commission (Keep […]

Interview with Rhonda Skillern-Jones

We move over to HISD Trustee races, which I’ll be running this week. There are four Trustee seats that are up for election this cycle, and I have interviews with a total of five candidates in them. First up is Rhonda Skillern-Jones, who currently serves as Board President and who is running for her first […]

Time to guess the Chronicle’s endorsements

We are a bit more than a month out from the start of early voting, and as such we are getting close to the start of Chronicle endorsement season. I know from doing candidate interviews that the Chron has been holding screenings in recent days, so it shouldn’t be long now. So while we wait […]

HISD will begin process of renaming schools with Confederate ties

Good. [HISD] trustees plan to start the process with a vote to revise the district’s policy to state explicitly that names should be non-discriminatory. The revised policy also details how the board can initiate renaming schools. Board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones said this week that after the policy gains approval, she will propose renaming at least […]

What next for HISD?

The board ponders its options for Superintendent while they prepare to search for a successor to Dr. Terry Grier. The Houston Independent School District board is set to meet Tuesday morning to discuss the district’s next steps after Superintendent Terry Grier’s surprise announcement Thursday that he was stepping down effective March 1. Board president Rhonda […]

Grier to step down as HISD Superintendent

This was sudden. Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier announced Thursday that he is stepping down effective on March 1. Grier became superintendent of Houston in 2009, leading the nation’s seventh largest school district to win the Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2013. “Time flies when you’re having fun. This is, like, year seven,” Grier […]

HISD bond concerns

It’s always something. A key Houston ISD school board member called Sunday for audits of the district’s 2012 bond program amid estimates of a $211 million shortfall and concerns about breaking promises to voters. Juliet Stipeche, chair of HISD’s audit committee, submitted her request for internal and external audits after a Davis High School teacher […]

On cellphones and school zones

I guess I need to talk about this. Six years ago, state lawmakers hoping to protect students banned drivers from texting and talking on hand-held cellphones in school zones. The ban, however, has never been enforced in Houston. City and school district officials have opted not to install the warning signs needed to issue tickets, […]

Your official slate of candidates

Yesterday was the filing deadline. Here’s the official list of candidates, modulo any challenges or subsequently invalidated applications. The highlights: – There are thirteen candidates for Mayor. The City Secretary might consider starting the ballot order draw now, this may take awhile. – Dwight Boykins in D, Dave Martin in E, and Larry Green in […]

Idiots protest at school

Jeez. The kindergarten and pre-K students experienced an early civics lesson Monday morning when they entered Houston Independent School District’s new Arabic Immersion Magnet School for the first day of class. At least a dozen protestors, some wearing red, white and blue, stood along the fenced perimeter of the campus, just north of the Heights […]

Endorsement watch: Houston GLBT Political Caucus 2015

Congrats to all the endorsees. A raucous municipal endorsement meeting brought mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner the coveted backing of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus on Saturday, positioning the 26-year state representative to broaden his coalition to include the city’s progressive voting bloc. Caucus members voted 142-85 to endorse Turner after more than an hour of […]

HISD and HCC finance reports

Here’s what we know, though it’s incomplete. Fundraising among most HISD board members was slow during the first half of 2015. Board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones, who plans to seek re-election to her District 2 seat this November, raised the most money this reporting period ($4,000) and has the most on hand ($8,195), according to the […]

Interview with Karla Cisneros

We continue with candidates in District H, where incumbent Council Member Ed Gonzalez is term limited. Today’s interview is with another Heights neighbor of mine, Karla Cisneros. Cisneros is a longtime educator and education activist, having served six years on the HISD Board of Trustees, including a stint as Board President. She was a teacher […]

The debate over changing Confederate-named schools in HISD

Predictably, not everybody likes the idea of rechristening HISD schools that were named for Confederate generals. Houston ISD board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones has said she wants her fellow trustees to consider renaming six campuses, following the June shooting deaths of nine black worshipers by an alleged white supremacist at a church in South Carolina. In […]

Supreme Court to hear school finance appeal in September

Mark your calendars. The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Sept. 1 in the long-running case challenging the state’s school-finance system. “We are very pleased that the court is moving so expeditiously,” attorney David Thompson, representing the Houston Independent School District, Fort Bend ISD and dozens of others, said Friday. “We think it’s a […]

HISD Board President backs changing Confederate school names

Fine by me. Amid a growing move to shed symbols of the old, slave-owning South, the Houston school board president said Thursday that she supports renaming six campuses named after Confederate loyalists. Rhonda Skillern-Jones said she plans to discuss the issue with her fellow trustees at an upcoming meeting. Superintendent Terry Grier added that he […]

HISD’s test scores

Not so good. Needs to be better. Houston ISD high school students continue to struggle with reading and writing, passing state exams at significantly lower rates than the state average, new results show. The district’s scores in algebra, biology and U.S. history also dipped a couple of points from last year, at a slightly sharper […]

What now for Terry Grier?

The HISD Superintendent is in the last year of his contract, and it’s not clear whether it will get extended or not. Kashmere has made limited strides as one of the schools in Superintendent Terry Grier’s signature reform effort, called Apollo. Students passed their first AP exams and the graduation rate rose, yet the school […]

Where the education reform bills stand

As we know, the attempt to take a first stab at school finance reform did not make it to the House floor. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some action on school-related issues. This Chron story from the weekend recapped a couple of the major bills that did make it through. Lawmakers likely could have killed […]

HISD mostly declines to rezone its schools

Lots of noise, not nearly as much action. A divided Houston school board on Thursday rejected most of the rezoning proposals designed to reduce class sizes after dozens of parents expressed concerns about families having to send their children to different campuses. Only two of the six proposals passed, with parents and board members in […]

HISD postpones redrawing school boundaries

This stuff is hard, y’all. The school board [had planned] to vote Thursday on the district’s biggest rezoning plan in recent years, involving more than two dozen campuses. The proposal mostly would redraw attendance boundaries to shift homes from more crowded schools to campuses with space. The major impact may not be immediate, however. As […]

We need to know how body cameras are going to be used

Having the body cameras is great, but it’s how we use them that really matters. Harris County’s two largest police agencies are testing body cameras on officers but refuse to release their policies detailing when the cameras should be turned on and off to maximize accountability and minimize intrusiveness. The Houston Police Department spent $108,000 […]

A slowdown in construction would be good for school districts

One potential upside to a weakening real estate market. Since the Houston Independent School District passed a historic $1.9 billion bond issue in 2012, the construction market has boomed, driving up costs and drying up labor. But now, with the recent drop in crude oil prices, district leaders say they may be able to ease […]

HISD considers a different kind of redistricting

It would likely be just as contentious as the usual kind. Houston school officials may rezone students from roughly two dozen elementary schools over the next few years in an effort to meet the state‚Äôs class size limits. District officials presented a proposal to the school board Thursday morning. It would be the largest redrawing […]

January campaign finance reports – HISD trustees

Four HISD Trustees are up for re-election this year. There are nine Trustees in all, and they serve four-year terms, so in a normal year either four or five are up for re-election. As things stand right now, all four incumbents would be running for re-election, which would be the first time there would be […]

HISD Student Congress

Kids today, with their “getting involved” and their “having their voices heard”, I tell you. The high school students gave up their Saturday afternoon, meeting at the downtown library with laptops and legal pads to brainstorm ideas for improving the Houston Independent School District. “Let’s say class sizes are too large at some schools in […]

HSPVA groundbreaking

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out. A slab of cracked cement painted over with yellow parking lines sits at the corner of Rusk and Austin – with downtown skyscrapers looming overhead. Come Tuesday, the cement will be ripped up and construction will begin on a new five-story, 168,000-square-foot building for the Houston ISD’s […]

Re-redistricting HISD

Well, this would be different. The Houston school board would grow from nine elected trustees to 17 under a bill filed by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who said she wants to give residents of the former North Forest school district increased representation. The Houston Independent School District took over the northeast Houston district in 2013 […]

HISD Board approves one cent tax rate increase

Still a low tax rate, just slightly higher now. As architects prepare designs for dozens of new campuses, the Houston school board on Thursday approved a 1-cent tax rate increase to help pay down debt from the largest school district construction bond in Texas history. The board voted 7-1 to raise the tax rate, the […]

HISD should not be on the hook for North Forest’s liabilities

Come on! Fourteen months after the Texas Education Agency ordered Houston ISD to take over the long-troubled North Forest school district, some unexpected disputes over funding have surfaced. The Houston school board has authorized its attorneys to challenge a Texas Workforce Commission ruling that the district owes more than $3.7 million in unemployment benefits to […]