HOUSTON — The Texas Education Agency is taking over the Houston Independent School District after an investigation revealed HISD failed to "deliver the best possible education to every Texas child," according to a statement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
The TEA will appoint a Board of Managers and superintendent due to the special accreditation investigation. The district's accreditation status will also be lowered to "accredited-warned."
The TEA sent a letter to HISD board president Diana Davila and superintendent Grenita Lathan on Wednesday that laid out the state's reasoning. HISD can ask for a formal review by Nov. 20.
Davila said the district will meet on Thursday to discuss the situation.
The TEA's final report on Oct. 30 found:
- The quorum of the board of trustees exercised decision making powers outside of a public meeting
- Members of Board acted individually on behalf of the board, exceeding the scope of authority
- Members of the board violated procurement rule
Watch the video below for three things to know about the takeover:
The TEA received multiple complaints alleging violations of laws related to the Texas Open Meetings Act and concerns reported by HISD staff. The state says HISD has exhibited "serious or persistent deficiencies."
The letter also says the district demonstrated an inability to address the “long-standing academic deficiencies at Wheatley High School." The campus received seven consecutive unacceptable ratings since 2011.
What does the new accreditation status mean?
According to the TEA, a status of "accredited-warned" means that a district exhibits deficiencies in performance that, if not addressed, will lead to probation or revocation of the district’s accreditation status.
Who will make up the new board of managers?
The TEA said, "a majority of the board of managers will consist of members of the Houston ISD community who are committed to service on behalf of the students of the district and the community."
Below is Abbott’s full statement:
“A quality education can make all the difference in a child’s life, and our school districts have a responsibility to deliver the best possible education to every Texas child. Houston ISD has failed to meet that responsibility and students across the district have paid the price. An entire generation of students have been left behind because of the school board’s policies and repeated failures. The State of Texas will never give up on our students, nor will we allow Houston ISD’s school board to stand in the way of a child and their path to success. I fully support the Texas Education Agency’s takeover of HISD and will work with them to give every child a chance at a great education.”
Here is HISD's statement on the matter:
"The Houston Independent School District has received a letter from Commissioner of Education Mike Morath regarding the appointment of a board of managers. We want to assure our students, parents, staff, and community members that our primary focus will continue to be the education and success of our students."
Here is Davila's statement on the matter:
“I am a firm believer in democracy no matter the outcomes. The commissioner not allowing newly elected trustees to represent their communities is a slap in the face of democracy.”