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Tensions rise, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee makes appearance at TEA's first public meeting on HISD takeover

Delgado said they have received 138 applications so far for the state-appointed board of managers that will replace the district's elected board of education.

HOUSTON — As your Education Station, KHOU 11 is making sure you know as much as possible about the Texas Education Agency's takeover of Houston ISD.  And that includes a live stream of Tuesday night's first of four community meetings held by the TEA.  

Parents showed up to the meeting at Westbury High School early to make sure they got to take part. This meeting was their first chance to meet face-to-face with members of TEA's Governance and Operations team.

TEA Deputy Commissioner Alejandro Delgado led the meeting, which quickly got out of hand.  He was repeatedly interrupted by the people who said they don't care about the process managers would be appointed, but would rather get answers about the takeover itself.

"They don't answer the questions that we need to hear to make me feel confident that their takeover will be successful," one HISD parent said.

"Very frustrating, very disrespectful for them to come to our community claiming that they come to speak to the constituents and parents and they do the complete opposite," another said.

Delgado said the TEA has received 138 applications so far for the state-appointed board of managers, who will replace the district's elected board of education.

He emphasized that to be considered for the position, applicants must live in Houston. The positions are not paid and the deadline for applications is April 6. Delgado said TEA is aiming to have appointed a board of managers by June 1.

He said the state agency is looking for a board of local Houstonians that reflects the diversity of HISD.

Delgado also laid out a timeline of how the district's control can be returned to an elected board. After two years from the board of managers' placement, if HISD has met progress goals, the TEA commissioner can announce the timeline for returning to an elected board.

Each year after that determination, a third of the board of managers will be replaced with elected trustees.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was at the meeting and addressed the crowd.

"This is going to be a difficult process," she told the crowd. 

Rep. Jackson Lee reaffirmed that she and other local leaders are opposed to the way the TEA takeover has gone down. While the TEA said they'd post questions about the board of managers application process online, Jackson Lee said she wanted to make sure all of the questions were answered and planned to take them directly to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath.

"I think Commissioner Morath needs to know he cannot have meetings like this and not answer your questions," Jackson Lee said.

You can watch the full meeting below:

TEA has scheduled three more community meetings over the HISD takeover on the following dates:

Each meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m.

Governor Abbott was also at a Houston school Tuesday

Tuesday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott spoke at a "Parent Empowerment Day" event at the state Capitol.

"I am a strong supporter of public schools in the state of Texas," Abbott said.

He did not mention the HISD takeover. Instead, the governor vowed to fund public education and raise teacher pay while also promising to pass school choice bills during the 2023 legislative session.

“Just like charter schools did not defund public schools, neither will school choice in the state of Texas," Abbott said.

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