Because the Houston ISD School Board did not approve the 2018-2019 budget at the regular board meeting on June 14, trustees convened for a special meeting on June 25 and unanimously approved the $2 billion budget for the 2018-2019 school year, five days before the state-mandated due date. The approved budget was essentially the original budget plus an amendment to reduce the performance audit/review allocation from $2.5 million to $1 million, with the difference assigned to the general fund balance for the district.
This was not the first occasion in which the Board was slow to demonstrate good Stewardship. The trustees also waited until May to put a comprehensive performance audit on the agenda, and at the June board meeting, they finally approved a performance review (audit) to be conducted by the Legislative Budget Board next fall. With the last-minute addition of several agenda items, general demeanor of trustees at the last regular board meeting, and the poorly handled special meeting in April, the Board repeatedly struggled with the principals of good governance, especially Collaboration and Leadership.
The Houston GPS team has compiled all of the ratings from this semester (January 2018 – June 2018) and given each trustee an overall grade for their demonstration of Impact, Equity, Collaboration, Stewardship, and Leadership. Even in the face of many challenges this year (Hurricane Harvey, the departure of Superintendent Carranza, a large budget deficit, potential state takeover), we expect to see trustees handle these situations by adhering to the principles of good governance and always putting the students of HISD first. It is our sincere hope that trustees return in August, ready to collaborate around a shared vision and focus on pursuing the best possible outcomes for all children.