Mayor Turner speaking at the Houston City Council Meetin
Mayor Turner speaking at the Houston City Council Meetin

“How do you take over the largest school district in Texas?”

That’s the question Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking as he learned the Texas Education Agency may take over the Houston Independent School District any day now.

The Houston mayor made the announcement during the latest City Council meeting. Turner cited legislators as sources for the news.

“The state is overreaching on this issue,” he said.

Turner said the takeover will obliterate local control and both the HISD Board of Trustees and Superintendent Millard House II could be replaced as part of the takeover.

In January, the Supreme Court of Texas issued an opinion ruling that the TEA can continue its plan to remediate underperforming high schools in HISD.

House has said that he understands the challenges, referring to fixing them as opportunities.

“It’s going to take some serious work. It’s going to take some bold decision-making. It’s going to take money as well, it’s going to take cuts at the same time, but it’s necessary,” House said.

House II issued the following statement in response to the opinion:

“When I first came into this role, I was clear-eyed about the challenges that faced us as a district. I also knew that if we did the right work and kept students at the center of every decision we make, we could move the district in the right direction for our community.

“As Superintendent for the last 18 months, my team has been laser-focused on giving each one of our students the academic experience they deserve. Guided by community input, the district developed and is executing on its five-year strategic plan. There is still much more work to be done, but we are excited about the progress we have made as a district and are looking forward to the work ahead.

In August 2022, the district celebrated Wheatley High School’s turnaround. Wheatley High School was the school that prompted TEA to try and appoint a board of managers.

In the 2021-2022 school year, Wheatley improved its rating from unacceptable to a C.

“The message to the state is what some thought might be impossible is possible,” House II said at the time. “Our kids are capable of doing everything we want, everything we expect.”