Houston Independent School District, the largest school district in the state of Texas and the eighth largest in the country, is expected to face a state takeover as early as next week, said Mayor Sylvester Turner during a City Council meeting Wednesday morning.
The district has been in legal warfare with the Texas Education Agency for years over concerns about board management and student achievement.
“I’m talking to legislators, and what they’re saying to me is that the state intends to take over the district, replacing the entire board, replacing the superintendent,” Turner said at the meeting. “I find that totally alarming.”
Breaking: @SylvesterTurner announces during Houston City Council that he’s hearing @teainfo may take over @HoustonISD as soon as this week. He cites legislators and says discussion is what made him late to this meeting @KHOU #khou11 pic.twitter.com/cSxIl8wOqs
— Jason Miles (@JMilesKHOU) March 1, 2023
He also believes the state is “overreaching” on the issue.
The news, while devastating, is nothing new for Houston ISD. The TEA originally began efforts to take over the district in 2019 due to poor student academics, failing schools and “alleged misconduct by certain trustees,” KHOU 11 reports.
In January, the way was paved for the TEA to begin takeover efforts after an opinion ruling was made by the Texas Supreme Court. According to Houston City Council member Karla Cisneros, the agency is completely ignoring the important progress the district has made.
“I think it’s ridiculous they’re not looking at significant academic progress that’s been made in recent times,” she told KHOU 11.
“As of the school year ending in 2022, 40 of 54 failing campuses have shown passing grades of C and an overall grade of B for the District as a whole,” said HISD Trustee Kathy Blueford-Daniels, KHOU 11 reports. “Wheatley High School students have improved from a failing grade to a C and are only a few points away from a B. There is still work to be done, but we must keep the focus on the students.”
Turner said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath will notify him in advance if and when the takeover will happen.
“It’s important to raise this issue because parents have every right to know,” he said. “Students have every right to know. Those in the community have every right to know.”
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