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On Thursday, August 12, the Houston ISD Board of Education met for its monthly business meeting. As returning back to school continues to clash with rising COVID-19 rates, parents and community members came out to speak about HISD implementing a mask mandate. While there was support on both sides, the Board ultimately prioritized the safety of students and staff by passing the mandate. The Board voted to accept federal ESSER funds but expect the Superintendent to make amendments to the current budget allocations to better address learning loss. The Board also picked up their past conversation about police function in the district when they considered contracts for the police department, including a contract for tasers, which was not approved. On Thursday, August 19, the Board met for a special meeting where they passed additional COVID-19 measures, including vaccine stipends for employees, but chose not to reconsider the police contracts they voted down last week.

Overall Ratings 

August 12, 2021

Trustee scores were based on votes and discussion related to agenda items A.2 and A.3 and assessed using core values for Leadership and Impact. 

District I: Trustee Santos

HIGH

District II: Kathy Blueford-Daniels

HIGH

District III: Dani Hernandez

HIGH

District IV: Patricia Allen

HIGH

District V: Sue Deigaard

HIGH

District VI:  Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca Ocampo

Medium due to Absence

District VII: Anne Sung

HIGH

District VIII: Judith Cruz

HIGH

District IX: Myrna Guidry

HIGH

Key Votes 

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

A.3: Mask Mandate

Trustee Santos

For

For

Trustee Blueford-Daniels

For

For

Trustee Hernandez

For

For

Trustee Allen

For

For

Trustee Allen

For

For

Trustee Deigaard

For

For

Trustee Flynn Vilaseca Ocampo

Absent but In Support

Absent

Trustee Sung

For

For

Trustee Cruz

For

For

Trustee Guidry

For

For

Key Votes 

Trustee Santos

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

For

A.3: Mask Mandate

For

Trustee Blueford-Daniels

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

For

A.3: Mask Mandate

For

Trustee Hernandez

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

For

A.3: Mask Mandate

For

Trustee Allen

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

For

A.3: Mask Mandate

For

Trustee Deigaard

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

For

A.3: Mask Mandate

For

Trustee Flynn Vilaseca Ocampo

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

Absent but In Support

A.3: Mask Mandate

Absent

Trustee Sung

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

For

A.3: Mask Mandate

For

Trustee Cruz

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

For

A.3: Mask Mandate

For

Trustee Guidry

A.2: Goal 1  and 4 Progress Monitoring

For

A.3: Mask Mandate

For

Time Spent on Student Outcomes

Research shows that school boards that focus on student outcomes have a greater impact. The Texas Education Agency recommends spending at least 50% of Board meeting time on student outcomes.

89 Minutes
89 Minutes: 33%

Trustee Comments

    • The Board demonstrated a commitment to Leadership and Impact by voting to implement a mask mandate for students, staff, and visitors inside HISD facilities and buses. The Board and administration must continue to do all that is within their control to ensure the safety of our students and staff. To learn more about HISD’s other safety measures for the upcoming school year, take a look at the Ready, Set, Go plan.
    • While the Board fell short of their goal of spending 50% of their time on student outcomes, this board meeting did mark a significant improvement with 33% of the regular meeting dedicated to reviewing outcome data. This is up from 14% in May and June. The Board demonstrated a commitment to Impact by making students an increasingly important focus of the district.
    • The Board took an important first step in addressing student well-being and learning loss from the pandemic by accepting federal ESSER funds to be used over the next three years. Several trustees and members of the community have expressed concern about how the funding is currently being budgeted. The new administration inherited the TEA approved plan and plans to make amendments, however, the trustees needed to pass the agenda item in order to approve the funds. While the Board may not have the power to approve future amendments, they should ask for regular updates from the administration about changes to ESSER budgeting to ensure that the influx of money is well-targeted and equitably distributed to address the highest need.
    • The Board’s piecemeal approach to police function discussions has led to unintended consequences. We certainly appreciate trustees for continuing to probe into the role of policing in the district, but the lack of a more comprehensive conversation between the Board, administration, and the HISD police force about police policy caused the Board to vote down contracts for accountability measures like body cameras in order to prevent the district from buying additional tasers. On Thursday, August 19, the Board was again asked to consider the item without the taser contract, but the motion did not receive a second, preventing the Board from voting. The Board needs to have a public conversation to outline a plan rather than dealing with individual items as they come up.
    • On Thursday, August 19, the Board held a Special meeting where they approved additional COVID-19 safety measures, including additional sick leave and $500 stipends for vaccinated employees. They also ratified the submission of a legal brief opposing the Texas Governor’s mask prohibition litigation, which was co-signed by several other school districts in the state.