HISD Board of Trustee Dr. Patricia K. Allen, District IV speaks during meeting
HISD Board of Trustee Dr. Patricia K. Allen, District IV Credit: HISDTV

Texas Education Agencyannounces a second Board of Managers application window opening now until April 20 on Thursday at Houston ISD’s school board meeting.

Steve Lecholop, Deputy Commissioner of Governance for TEA introduced key information about current update on the transition of the Board of Managers.

Lecholop presented a timeline of what would be a 75-day process detailing the steps the agency has and will take until the appointment of the new Board of Managers on June 1st.

The first application window closed April 6 and 374 applications were submitted. Preliminary screening for the first batch of application is on-going, and encouraged more people to apply for the second round.

“For a number of reasons, the agency decided to open a second application window,” Lecholop said. “We want to make sure that all Houstonians have a second chance or more time to deliberate on whether they would be good fit to serve on the board.”

Anyone who applies in the second window will go through all of the interview protocols in order to qualify for the board. All 374+ applicants have been invited to participate in a mandatory Lone Star governance training.

Texas Education Agency Takeover timeline
Texas Education Agency Takeover timeline Credit: Texas Education Agency

Here are key takeaways after the transition of the board is complete:

  • Elected HISD Board of Trustees’ authority will be removed but will remain as elected officials
  • Trustees will be invited to serve in an advisory capacity to the board of managers
  • Trustees will be invited to participate in community committees
  • After two school years, the commissioner will evaluate districts progress
  • Depending on the outcomes, Commissioner could extend for another two years
  • The transition back to HISD Board of Trustee control will be gradual over three years.
HISD Board of Trustee Kathy Blueford-Daniels, District II speaks during a meeting
HISD Board of Trustee Kathy Blueford-Daniels, District II Credit: HISDTV

Several of the board of trustees were still uncertain about the process due to several reasons including the board of managers exit criteria, the special accreditation investigation on a violation of state laws by former board of trustees, and why Morath has yet to personally address the community’s concerns.

“We’d like to see Commissioner Morath to discuss all of the questions and concerns with all of us collectively,” said HISD Board Trustee District II, Kathy Blueford-Daniels during the meeting. “We are all making strides, upward strides obviously in the right direction… You can’t use one stencil to paint an entire picture, unless you have it tailored to every particular district.”

Trustee Dr. Patricia K. Allen of District IV, said that the TEA’s presentation the same standard presentations they gave at previous community forums, and that the Lecholop hasn’t been in his role long enough to understand the needs of the school district.

“He’s only been with TEA for seven months … he couldn’t possibly know what’s going on in Houston or Austin. He’s from San Antonio,” she said. “They didn’t have to take over the district. They could have considered repurposing the school instead. They don’t need to take over 200 schools because of that one.”

Trustee Dr. Kendall Baker of District VI said that he knew what to expect from the presentation and it didn’t make sense to keep fighting what will eventually be set in stone in June.

“The bible scripture Luke Chapter 17 verse 2 is my main reason for partnering with the TEA. It’s time we face the music, get in the trenches and increase these student outcomes,” he said.

“We need to change our mindset. We will have 9 school board members who will take the role as advisors, along with nine board of managers. That is 18 people working together in the background all hands-on deck for these children. That should be our focus.

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Laura OnyenehoEducation Reporter

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...