Should the HISD Board bother doing anything right now?

There’s a good case for No, and if that’s their thinking then they’re already on the way.

Houston ISD board members expressed concern Thursday about making budget cuts to campuses right before the district is taken over by the Texas Education Agency.

With a state-selected board and superintendent slated to be appointed by June, the district is in a time of transition and uncertainty, board members said. Maintaining funding levels for schools would provide some level of stability, said Trustee Sue Deigaard, who represents District V.

“It doesn’t make sense to me why we are putting our principals through this,” Deigaard said. “This new administration and board are going to come in and make a whole lot of changes to this district.”

Currently, the proposed measures would save about $62 million, according to the district, but more cuts will likely be needed to balance the $2.2 billion budget.

The district’s deficit is anticipated to grow to about $280 million by the 2024-2025 school year, if cost-saving measures aren’t implemented, according to a presentation at the last budget workshop. HISD’s savings fund would drop below the required level in fiscal year 2026.

The district plans to remove the “hold harmless” policy, which allowed campuses to be fully funded even though attendance is down. The removal of the policy would create roughly $29 million in savings. The district also made plans to make about $13 million in cuts toward the high school allotment and small school subsidies.

“I’m still bothered we added $100 million to our unassigned fund balances, but we’re cutting $40 million to campuses at an incredibly volatile time for this district,” Deigaard said, “and I don’t understand when we’re doing it with this much savings in the bank.”


District officials have gotten input from principals by attending their meetings and surveying them, Superintendent Millard House II said.

“The majority of our principals have recognized the idea of where we are at with this budget,” House said. “They really understand, and the majority of them have been supportive.”

The district is in the process of working with the TEA and their budget team who will come in on a frequent basis, starting next week, according to House and TEA officials.

TEA Commissioner Mike Morath also “engaged with school leadership” at the monthly principals meeting held Tuesday, according to a statement from the district.

Although principals may be OK with the cuts, that may not be the sentiment across all campuses, trustees said.

There’s a couple of ways to look at this. One is that the Board is trying to be as responsible as it can and leave things in as stable a position as it can as it prepares to hand off power to the Board of Managers. Which could potentially include some number of current Trustees, if they applied for the positions, though I rather doubt any of them would get added. The other way is to adopt the attitude of “it’s your problem now, geniuses, you figure it out”. Not as high-minded, perhaps, but completely relatable. I don’t know what any particular Board member was thinking, but they have a lot of latitude now as far as I’m concerned.

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7 Responses to Should the HISD Board bother doing anything right now?

  1. C.L. says:

    The fact that these fusterclucking assclowns are looking at a possible $280M deficit further cements my belief that they were/have been completed financially incompetent for years now.

  2. C.L. says:


  3. Joel says:

    The largest school districts in Texas have been completely undermined by Robin Hood. The amount Texas “recaptures” from HISD property taxes every year is staggeringly high. It’s no coincidence that the largest school districts are struggling, financially and in terms of performance.

  4. Manny says:

    CL, if they didn’t do anything, there was the possibility of a $280 deficit.

    The key word is “There was” So CL, you took a maybe and converted it into a truth.

    It starts with the school board considering whether they should do anything to the budget to ensure the deficit did not occur or whether to let the new fascist’s appointees make the decision.

  5. C.L. says:

    Manny, I’ll fix my statement for you to help you better understand…

    FROM: The fact that these fusterclucking assclowns are looking at a possible $280M deficit further cements my belief that they were/have been completed financially incompetent for years now.

    TO: The fact that these fusterclucking assclowns were involved with a projected $115M deficit (2018-19 school year), a $76M projected deficit (2019-20 school year, when they had a $2B budget) and are now looking at a possible $280M deficit for the 2023-24 school year further cements my belief that they have been completed financially incompetent for years now.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Manny says:

    CL, why do you assume everyone is ignorant as you are?

    Projected means it may occur, did it occur? For those of simple minds, that means did they end the year with deficits?

    Hope your simple mind can understand.

    Why the need to insult? Does it make you feel smart?

    Did you like being insulted?

    Why did the need to use such colorful language to describe them? A lack of a logical argument?

  7. Manny says:

    why the need

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