Looking beyond HISD’s one year reprieve

As we know, HISD has been in danger of sanctions from the TEA, which could include a state takeover of the district, because of several schools that had rated as “improvement needed” for multiple years in a row. They managed to avoid that fate for this year as most of its schools were granted waivers due to Harvey, while the schools that weren’t exempted met the mandated standard. Next year, however, the schools that received waivers will have to measure up or the same sanctions will apply. As a result, local officials are planning ahead for that possibility.

Local civic leaders are considering whether to form a nonprofit that could take control of several long-struggling Houston ISD schools in 2019-20, a potential bid to improve academic outcomes at those campuses and stave off a state takeover of the district’s locally elected governing board.

Members of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration, education leaders and prominent philanthropic and business organizations have convened periodically over the past few months to research and sketch out frameworks for a nonprofit capable of governing some HISD campuses. The discussions remain preliminary — no plans or proposals have been formulated — but local leaders say they their efforts will become more urgent and public in the coming months.

The nonprofit would partner with HISD through a recently passed state law commonly known as SB 1882. Under the law, school districts temporarily can surrender control over campuses to an outside organization — including a nonprofit — in exchange for a two-year reprieve from state sanctions tied to low academic performance, an extra $1,200 in per-student funding and some regulatory breaks. If HISD does not engage in an outside partnership this academic year at four chronically low-performing schools this year, the district risks state sanctions in 2019 if any of the campuses fail to meet state academic standards.

Juliet Stipeche, the director of education in Turner’s administration, said a nonprofit “seems like the wisest catalyst” for a potential private partnership with HISD. Stipeche, an HISD trustee from 2010 to 2015, is among the lead organizers of early talks about a nonprofit.

“Our office is trying to bring together a very diverse group of people to find a new way of partnering with the school district,” Stipeche said. “There’s a clear, obvious sense of urgency given the situation that we have, but there’s also an understanding that this needs to be a long-term project.”


Houston-area leaders involved in talks about forming a nonprofit for an HISD partnership said many questions remain answered: Who would serve on the nonprofit’s governing board? How would board members be chosen? How would community members engage in the nonprofit’s formation? Who would manage day-to-day campus operations? Which schools would fall under the nonprofit’s purview?

To gain support for a private partnership, local leaders will have to clear several hurdles. They likely will have three to six months to craft governance plans and an academic framework for campuses, a relatively short time frame. They will have to get buy-in from several constituencies that often clash politically, including HISD trustees, school district administrators, teachers’ union leaders and residents in neighborhoods with schools facing takeover. The TEA also would have to approve any proposals.

“We need to be taking advantage of the next year,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, the region’s largest business advocacy nonprofit. “We need to work very aggressively. It will take time to put something like this together.”

See here for some background, and here and here for what happened when HISD looked at this kind of solution earlier this year. I guess the first hurdle I’d like to be cleared is an answer to the question of how any theoretical partnership will help these schools succeed beyond what HISD has been able to do with them. In some sense this doesn’t matter since this is one of the options that the Lege mandates, and it’s the option that retains the most local control, which I agree is the better choice. There’s also the option of persuading the Lege to make some changes to SB 1882, which is something that Rep. Garnet Coleman has been talking about. Let’s focus on the bigger picture of getting the best outcome, and go from there.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in School days and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Looking beyond HISD’s one year reprieve

  1. Michelle says:

    Why do charters and non-profits get so much more per student?

  2. Andrew Lynch says:

    HISD is too large. HISD will serve their community better if broken up into smaller districts.

    HISD Size:
    214,175 students, 11,909 Teachers & 28,652 Staff members

  3. Ross says:

    Breaking up HISD would not be a good idea, since there’s no way to do it without resegregating a bunch of the schools. Breaking up the district would result in even more overhead, since each of the new districts would need administrative staff and a headquarters.

    One reason the schools in trouble have difficulty in getting out of IR status is that the motivated kids with parents who care about education have magnet transferred to other schools, leaving the lower achievers and kids with parents who don’t really care about education. The quick and easy solution is to eliminate magnet transfers, and force the kids back to their zoned schools. However, all that does is hide the low achievers in the overall school population, while screwing the kids who went to magnets.

    It would help tremendously if the State would get rid of Robinhood, and leave the money in the district.Of course, Dan Patrick thinks taking money from districts is a good thing, so we probably won’t see that happen. Patrick is a total scumbag with not one redeeming quality. He hates anyone who isn’t a White, rich Christian like himself. His view on the poor is they deserve to be poor, since they are obviously lazy. Texas would be a much better place without Patrick in office. He was a crappy sportscaster, a crappy bar owner, and is a horriofically bad politician.

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    I was in full agreement with you about not splitting up the district, right up until you blame Dan Patrick for Robin Hood. Looking for blame for Robin Hood? Look to Manny’s people, MALDEF, and the Edgewood School District case. The delicious irony of HISD being fleeced by Robin Hood is, it was SJW’s EXACTLY like the HISD leadership that got Robin Hood enacted to begin with. Hey, it was all great when white bread, suburban districts were getting the shaft. Now, all the sudden, it’s an urban, minority majority district getting fleeced, and they don’t like it.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    My people, made Texas follow the constitution. Your people completely f$%d it up, but that is typical of the low lives like you, Bill.

    By the way I give to the ACLU, I have never given to MALDEF.

  6. Ross says:

    @Bill, Patrick could get rid of Robinhood if he wanted to. He doesn’t. If he did, he wouldn’t allow the recapture money to go to the General Fund, but would use it to supplement State funding. Patrick only cares about his rich donors paying low State level taxes. In his world, the only good government spending is that which goes into his pocket or the pockets of his friends.

    Yes, Robinhood was a response to the cases you cite, but it’s obviously poorly designed and needs to be replaced.

Comments are closed.