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Posts Tagged ‘HISD Board of Trustees’

July campaign finance reports, HISD and HCC

Ericka Mellon did me the favor of the heavy lifting for HISD Trustees. Campaign finance reports filed this week show at least two non-incumbents are entering races for the Houston school board this November, while contributions for most trustees generally were smaller following new board-imposed restrictions. Board president Anna Eastman, who represents District I, which […]

Show them the data

Interesting. A major donor to HISD’s key school reform effort is putting its remaining $3 million check on hold amid concerns that detailed research about the success of the program is lacking. The president of the Houston Endowment, Ann Stern, wrote a letter to top school district officials this month criticizing the recent progress report […]

What does the DOMA decision mean for Texas?

Last week, the day after the disappointing SCOTUS ruling on the Voting Rights Act, we got a much more heartening ruling on DOMA, declaring it to be unconstitutional. However, not all of DOMA was struck down. In a landmark Supreme Court decision on Wednesday, justices ruled that Section 3 of the 1996 law, which denies […]

HISD budgets for teacher pay raise and more Apollo

Whether that will mean a tax hike, and if so how much, remains undetermined. Houston ISD employees will see a 2 percent pay raise and many schools will receive more money to help struggling students under the budget that trustees approved on a 6-3 vote Monday. Left unsettled was whether property owners will face an […]

HISD contemplates tax hike

It’s not as much as they once thought they would raise them, since enough money was restored by the Legislature to stave off the need to raise taxes for that purpose. Superintendent Terry Grier’s budget proposal, released Monday, would increase the tax rate by 2 cents and would expand his Apollo school reform program, a […]

HISD moving forward with North Forest annexation

Despite some legal uncertainty, they pretty much have to keep moving forward. The Houston Independent School District moved forward Wednesday with its takeover of the beleaguered North Forest school system even as state education officials prepare for a Thursday hearing that could delay the annexation. HISD Superintendent Terry Grier announced principal assignments as well as […]

Midyear 2013 election update

Back in January, I took an early look at the 2013 elections in Houston. At the request of the folks at the Burnt Orange Report, who also printed my initial overview, here’s an update on the races in the city of Houston in 2013. Mayor Back in January, Mayor Parker had no declared opponents, though […]

TEA insists North Forest closure moving ahead

TEA Commissioner Michael Williams says don’t listen to the noise, North Forest ISD will be assimilated into HISD as planned on July 1. Williams said the Texas Education Agency, which he oversees, has followed state law and has the necessary approval to proceed with shutting down North Forest ISD, which has a long history of […]

Justice Department engaged in North Forest closure

A possible ray of hope for supporters of North Forest ISD, which is still hoping to survive past July 1 when the TEA’s order for it to be subsumed into HISD takes effect. The chief of the Justice Department’s voting section wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency saying federal officials need to know […]

Laptops for fewer, at least for now

HISD’s proposed laptops for all proposal has been scaled back from an 18 school pilot to a ten school pilot in response to concerns that they weren’t quite ready yet for anything bigger than that. Lenny Schad, chief technology officer for the Houston Independent School District, told the school board via email this week that […]

HISD revises magnet school policy

This has been in the works for a long time. The [HISD Board of Trustees] voted unanimously on a revised policy governing its beloved magnet school program, saying the schools would be held more accountable for academic performance and their ability to attract students. While some of the 113 magnet programs are nationally recognized and […]

HISD to begin laptops for all program

Starting small, and presumably growing from there. Houston ISD officials announced Thursday that they are prepared to give students at up to 18 high schools their own laptops next school year, becoming among the first big-city districts to launch a one-to-one computing program. “This is a way of transforming what and how we teach,” HISD […]

Grier asks for Apollo money

It is his signature program. Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier on Thursday lobbied the school board for at least $17 million to expand his Apollo school reform effort, noting new research showing its benefits. Grier is facing resistance from some trustees – though likely not enough to defeat his plan – as they consider a […]

Endorsement watch: Planned Parenthood gets an early start

From the inbox on Friday: Today the Board of Directors of the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast ACTION FUND Inc, (PPGCAF) voted to endorse the following candidates for the November City Election. Each of the endorsed candidates has demonstrated a strong commitment to the health and well being of Texas women and families. PPGCAF encourages all […]

More from the Larry Marshall files

This guy is a piece of work. HISD trustee Larry Marshall, fresh off a two-day school board retreat, flew from Houston to Tampa, Fla., on a clear winter day to watch the 2009 Super Bowl in Raymond James Stadium. Cheap seats for the match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals cost $500 each, […]

A first look at the 2013 elections

It is 2013, right? So while we have the SD06 special election and the new legislative session to worry about, it’s not too early to start talking about the 2013 elections. Let’s start with a peek at the campaign finance reports from last July of the Houston officeholders who will be on the ballot this […]

Early extension for Grier

This was a surprise. The Houston school board gave Superintendent Terry Grier a big but not unanimous vote of confidence Thursday, extending his contract through 2016 and awarding him $115,000 in bonuses for the last year. The board voted 6-2 to approve the surprise two-year extension, and the lone absent trustee said later that she […]

Why the HISD Board of Trustees needed stricter ethics rules

Ladies and gentlemen, Trustee Larry Marshall. HISD trustee Larry Marshall voted repeatedly to award taxpayer-funded contracts to companies that hired his longtime business associate – who gave him a cut of her earnings, according to court records, deposition testimony and interviews. Marshall, the Houston Independent School District’s most senior trustee, has received tens of thousands […]

Interview with Terry Grier

In addition to the many races for office this year, there are several referenda on the ballot that are worthy of your attention. I will be conducting interviews to discuss them as well. The first one up is the HISD bond referendum, and for that I have a conversation with HISD Superintendent Terry Grier. As […]

HISD board passes ethics reform

It was a unanimous vote at Thursday’s board meeting. Under the new rules, which will be finalized next month, trustees will have to abstain from voting on deals involving vendors who contributed at least $500 to their political campaigns the prior year. District contractors also will be barred from donating to trustees during the competitive […]

HISD board to vote on ethics reform

Good. Houston ISD trustees would have to abstain from voting on deals involving big campaign donors and disclose potential conflicts of interest with a wider range of vendors under new policies up for consideration Thursday. The board has been working on changes to its ethics rules since tabling a decision last November, and questions remain […]

Making the case for the HISD bonds

Bobby and Phoebe Tudor, the chairs of the Citizens for Better Schools campaign, lay out their case for the HISD bond referendum in this Chron op-ed. Study after study has shown that children have more difficulty learning in inadequate school buildings. The 21st Century School Fund, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization, reports that these inadequate […]

HISD takes another crack at ethics reform

Good luck. Houston school trustees on Thursday renewed serious talks about tightening their ethics rules after failing to agree on new policies late last year. The proposed changes, meant to restore public confidence that the Houston Independent School District is hiring the best contractors without undue influence, also could affect trustees’ political campaign coffers. Trustees […]

HISD board approves its bond package

In the end, it wasn’t a close vote. The school board voted 8-1 to seek a $1.9 billion bond issue that would rebuild or renovate most of the district’s aging high schools, remodel several elementary and middle schools, and upgrade campus technology. The plan calls for phasing in a tax rate increase expected to cost […]

HISD tweaks its bond proposal

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier presents Bond Referendum 2.0 for your approval. Grier’s amended proposal adds five high schools to a list of 20 that would get new buildings or partial replacements. The additions, originally slated for smaller renovations, are Davis, DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Barbara Jordan, and the Young Men’s and Young Women’s […]

How big should those high schools be?

This is a question that HISD is asking itself as the Board of Trustees considers the $1.9 billion bond proposal, much of which is to be spent on high schools. A number of HISD high schools have had large drops in enrollment, but many of these schools also have badly outdated facilities and would be […]

Rey Guerra: Latinos in Houston 2012

The following is from a series of guest posts that I will be presenting over the next few weeks. White, Black, Asian, or other, if you live in Houston, you’ve more than likely adopted aspects of Latino culture into your own, it’s inevitable. In statistically the most diverse city in the United States, Latinos are […]

HISD will not raise the tax rate

Instead, they will dip into their reserves to balance their $1.5 billion budget for this year. The amount is about the same as last year, when the district reduced spending by approximately 5 percent to offset unprecedented state cuts. Instead of seeking a tax increase – which the school board has been reluctant to embrace […]

HISD planning bond election

The fall ballot gets a little longer. The Houston Independent School District is preparing to ask voters to fund up to $1.8 billion in bonds to replace and upgrade aging campuses. Superintendent Terry Grier has said the bond referendum – which would go to voters in November if the school board approves – likely would […]

No uniform start times for HISD next fall

This surprised me. Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier on Thursday withdrew his proposal to change bus schedules and school hours next year after concerns about disruption to families and questions about the cost savings. This is the second consecutive year Grier has failed to gain support for a standardized bus plan, yet he said he […]

Well, at least they’ll be able to burn off the calories

News item number one. Papa John’s pizza, Blue Bell ice cream, and fluorescent-colored Slushies. For some kids, those may be the ingredients of a perfect school lunch. But for at least one Houston school district trustee, they may be the makings for a food fight. At a board meeting Monday, trustee Juliet Stipeche questioned the […]

HISD announces public meetings to address proposed school start time changes

From the HISD News Blog: 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 […]

Take the HISD start time survey

As we know, HISD is contemplating uniform start times for its campuses for next year. They have said they want public feedback on their proposals. Here’s your chance to give it. Implementing uniform schedules across the Houston Independent School District’s 279 campuses would free up $1.2 million while giving the average student an extra 19 […]

Bonds, school bonds

Another thing that may be on your ballot this year. Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier said Thursday it was time to start discussing a possible bond referendum to update the district’s aging campuses. In his annual state of the schools speech, Grier said the Houston Independent School District had completed many of the projects in […]