Key Agenda Items
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. HISD should start identifying teachers and principals for the next school year to ensure there are no teacher or administrative vacancies. It should be utilizing the teacher pipelines, such as Teach Forward Houston, so every student will have a teacher for all of their classes before the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year. The Board plans to vote on this item at the April meeting.
2. Last June, the HISD Board had to convene for a last-minute special meeting to pass a budget for the 2019 – 2020 school year. In order to prevent another last-minute budget vote this summer, the HISD Board needs to collaboratively and collectively set its budget priorities. Even as the board and administration are operating virtually, budget discussions should be a priority and need to continue to make sure next year’s budget is aligned with district goals and passed before the deadline at the end of June.
3. The closure of the district, while necessary to ensure the safety of the HISD community, has exacerbated inequities amongst students. [email protected], the district’s online education portal, was launched to ensure student instruction could continue from home, however, login data show that even in the schools with the highest login percentages, all students do not have access. In the schools with the top 10 login percentages, 5%-18% of students have not been able to logon. All of the other schools in HISD have even higher percentages of students without access to education. The Board should continue to receive updates from administration about what efforts are being made to ensure all students are able to continue their learning.
4. The HISD Board should terminate their legal actions against the TEA. The Board is using taxpayers’ dollars from unassigned funds, running HISD into a deeper deficit, to pay for their lawyers. With delays in court due to COVID-19, the lawsuit is moving slowly. Especially now, when the school district is facing hurdles with making sure students have access to instruction and basic necessities, the Board and district finances should be focused on our kids.