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Key Agenda Items

Board Of Education Meeting Agenda

October 8, 2021

*More details on each item and additional areas of concern during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found below the list.

  • (F.1) Approval of the Innovation Plan Committee Membership to Draft the Houston Independent School District’s District Of Innovation Plan
  • (I.1) Vendor Awards for Purchases over $100,000
  • (I.2) Donations for Districtwide and School-Specific Programs
  • (I.3) Grant Funds in Support of Districtwide and School-Specific Programs
  • (I.5) Approval of the October General Fund Budget Amendment

Impact (I), Leadership (L), Equity (E), Stewardship (S), Collaboration (C)

F.2 Approval of the Innovation Plan Committee Membership to Draft the Houston Independent School District’s District Of Innovation Plan (I)

The Board will consider moving forward with the process of designating HISD as a District of Innovation (DOI). This vote is to approve the appointed members of the Innovation Plan Committee, who will be responsible for drafting the district’s DOI plan. The Committee consists of 15 members, including one appointed by each board trustee and six members appointed by the interim superintendent. The committee’s proposed DOI plan requires approval from both the Board and the District Advisory Council. The DOI plan drafted by the committee would be limited to the constraints the Board set in May 2020 in its DOI resolution, which only allows for exemptions from state requirements for the first day of the school year, certification for teachers in Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, and minimum attendance necessary to receive course credit. Learn more about Districts of Innovation.

The following are the appointees for the DOI committee:

District 1 Representative – Claudia de Leon Geisler
District 2 Representative – Traci Latson
District 3 Representative – Brittney Garza
District 4 Representative – Ivalyn Patterson
District 5 Representative – Jay Aiyer
District 6 Representative – Jim Faber
District 7 Representative – Megan Hokom
District 8 Representative – Marcus Ceniceros
District 9 Representative – Rashad Cave
Interim Superintendent’s Appointee – Juliet Amara, Director – Career and Technical Education (HISD)
Interim Superintendent’s Appointee – Wally De Covarrubia, General Manager – Human Resources (HISD)
Interim Superintendent’s Appointee – Dr. Shantay Grays, Vice Chancellor of Student Services – Houston Community College
Interim Superintendent’s Appointee – Dr. Carlos Phillips, Principal – Booker T. Washington HS
Interim Superintendent’s Appointee – Jessica Pineda, Health Science Career and Technical Education Teacher – Chávez HS
Interim Superintendent’s Appointee – Roshunda Roberts Jackson, Director – Counseling and Compliance (HISD)

Core Value Evaluation: Impact

District of Innovation status allows school districts the flexibility to provide innovative solutions to meet the needs of their students, schools, and community. As of right now, most of the districts in our area are DOI districts that have the flexibility to start the school year a week or two before HISD, which gives their students additional time for learning, helps combat summer slide for students not getting enrichment during the summer months, and gives teachers additional time to prepare students for state exams. HISD does not, leaving our students behind their peers in other districts. Moving forward with the DOI process allows a committee of teachers, school leaders, and community leaders the opportunity to create a DOI plan constrained by the resolution the board passes.

I.1 Vendor Awards for Purchases over $100,000 (S, L)

The Board needs to approve vendor awards greater than $100,000 and ratify vendor awards under $100,000.

Vendors: A&T Europe Spa; BSN Sports; Diving Board Solutions, LLC; Hancock Pool Services, Inc.; Progressive Commercial Aquatics, Inc.; Audio DAWg, Inc.; Aves Audio Visual Systems; Betrold Enterprises, Inc., dba Pender’s Music Company; Delgado Guitars, LLC; Fleming Instrument Repair; Guitar Center Stores, Inc.; Guitar Center Stores, Inc., dba Music and Arts; Guitar Center Stores, Inc., dba Woodwind and Brasswind; KORG U.S.A., Inc., dba SoundTree; Luck’s Music Library; Macie Publishing Company; MakeMusic, Inc.; Moe-Bleichner Music Distribution; Peripole, Inc.; Rhythm Band Instruments; Shar Products Company; Terra Nova Violins, LLC; The Clavier Group, Inc., dba Steinway Piano Gallery; The Tuba Exchange; Vio Strings, Inc., dba Katy Violin Shop; Washington Music Sales Center, Inc., dba Washington Music Center; Wenger Corporation; SHI Government Solutions, Inc; FireTron, Inc.; Region IV Education Service Center; Catapult Learning; Data Management, Inc., dba TimeClock Plus, LLC; Nessy Learning LLC; Data Projections, Inc.; Standard Office Products, Inc.

I.2 Donations for Districtwide and School-Specific Programs (S, L)

All donations greater than $5,000 must be approved by the HISD Board of Education.

Donors: KCPS/Flint Hills Resources-Houston; Anita D. Designer Foundation; HISD Foundation on behalf of Houston Endowment, Inc.; Momentum Education; This Woman’s Work; HISD Foundation on behalf of Phillips 66; Lamar High School (HS) Alumni Association.

I.3 Grant Funds in Support of Districtwide and School-Specific Programs (S, L)

All grant funds greater than $5,000 must be approved by the HISD Board of Education.

Grantors: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Texas Education Agency (TEA); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); The Center for Afterschool, Summer, and Enrichment for Kids (CASE for Kids), a division of Harris County Department of Education (HCDE).

I.4 Approval of the October General Fund Budget Amendment (S, L)

The Board must approve amendments to the district’s 2020-2021 budget that are required by state law and recommended by the interim superintendent.

Other agenda items to be voted on during the meeting:

  • (A.1) Approval of personal services performed by the Superintendent.
  • (B.1) Announcement of required board member continuing education.
  • (B.2) Update from the Audit Committee chair.
  • (B.3) Update from the Community Engagement Strategy Ad Hoc Committee chair.
  • (B.4) Update from the Police Function Ad Hoc Committee Chair.
  • (B.5) Review and discussion of the Board Operating Procedures Manual.
  • (D.1) Approval of certified appraisers for the Teacher Appraisal And Development System for school year 2020–2021.
  • (G.1) Adoption of a resolution to waive work days missed and to pay employees for the August 26–27, 2020 and the September 22–23 district closures due to Hurricane Laura and Tropical Storm Beta.
  • (G.2) Consideration and approval of the University Of Houston–Downtown Memorandum Of Understanding for University School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (US PREP) membership, a collaboration to create classroom-ready teachers.
  • (H.1) Approval to negotiate, execute, and amend a construction contract for the Mirabeau Lamar High School Agricultural Farm, a project from the 2012 bond election.
  • (H.2) Approval to negotiate, execute, and amend a construction contract for the auditorium and sports fields improvements at Booker T. Washington High School, a project from the 2012 bond election to meet district standards for the sports facilities at the replacement Booker T. Washington campus.
  • (H.3) Authority to negotiate, execute, and amend interlocal agreements with Lone Star College, Galena Park Independent School District, and New Caney Independent School District for third-party testing services for commercial driving skills examinations.
  • (I.4) Approval of resolution adopting the property tax rate and levying Ad Valorem taxes for tax year 2020.

Areas of Concern:

Although normal school board operations have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still items the school board must address and new areas of concern created by the current crisis. Houston GPS would like to highlight the following items:

1. In August, the Board decided to forgo drafting additional COVID-19 emergency constraints and instead scheduled a series of workshops to finish developing the Board’s goals, which will guide the district for the next five years, and move up the monitoring timeline for these more permanent measures. These goals are one of the most important responsibilities of the school board and deserve careful consideration. The Board is holding community meetings on October 6th and 15th to gather feedback from the community on their drafted goals, the language for which they plan to finalize at a special meeting today, October 5, at 5 pm. The Board must work efficiently and collaboratively to keep to the necessary timeline to meet not only state requirements, but also the proposed monitoring start date in November for these goals.

2. The closure of the district, while necessary to ensure the safety of the HISD community, has exacerbated inequities amongst students. The district is expected to offer both in-person and remote learning beginning October 19, as required by state regulations for funding. Many students have struggled with remote learning and will likely need additional supports to remain on pace with their learning before the pandemic. The addition of face-to-face learning comes with potential disruptions to maintain the safety of students and staff. With learning split between multiple models of instruction and students still facing uncertainty due to the pandemic, the Board must continue to receive updates from administration about what additional efforts are being made to ensure all students are able to safely continue their learning regardless of learning environment. To review HISD’s reopening plan, visit the district’s reopening page.

3. In June 2020, the Board approved changes to district policy regarding charter and other external performance contracts. As part of these changes, Board policy now requires the district to notify charter organizations if the district intends to revoke or fail to renew their agreements by October 31. 

4. In June, the Board made a commitment to examine the role of police in the district to confront systemic racism and police violence against people of color. Initially, the Board and administration were going to have a workshop on the topic in September, but thus far one has not been scheduled. While the Board has formed a Police Function Ad Hoc Committee that is supposed to provide an update at the meeting on Thursday, it does not appear that the committee has been able to meet, with the only scheduled meeting having been cancelled. Considering the disproportionate discipline and forced interaction with police that students of color, especially black boys, face in public education, this is a pressing equity concern. Moving forward, we hope to see increased public activity from the Board and the Police Function Committee.