HISD drops controversial partnership plan for 10 troubled schools after heated meeting

HOUSTON — The Houston ISD Board of Education Tuesday adjourned Tuesday without approving a contract to turn over 10 of its schools to a charter school company, Energized for STEM Academy. Officials said the district will no longer pursue this proposal, nor will the district submit plans for partnerships to the Texas Education Agency.

The proposed partnership sparked protest and chaos during Tuesday night's board meeting, resulting in multiple parents being forced out of the room by district police and detained for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. The district has since dropped the charges filed against the parents as a result of the incident.

The proposal is a part of Senate Bill 1882 and was intended to give HISD a two–year pause on accountability from the TEA and prevent sanctions from the state related to House Bill 1842, according to administrators.

HISD will continue to operate and manage the 10 campuses that have been in Improvement Required status with the state for four years or more. Those campuses are: Blackshear, Dogan, Highland Heights, Mading, and Wesley elementary schools, Henry Middle School, Woodson PK-8, and Kashmere, Wheatley, and Worthing high schools. The district’s goal is to help these 10 schools exit IR and continue to meet yearly standards.

“We are not bringing another partnership proposal to the Board, nor will there be another meeting to consider partnerships for the 10 schools,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said.. “Instead, we will continue to reinforce our commitment to helping students, staff, and families of our Achieve 180 schools continue the hard work they’ve done this year to transform their campuses and increase student achievement.”

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Officials said HISD will make the necessary changes to the Achieve 180 framework to ensure the district provides them with the additional resources and supports they need to be successful. District administration will be holding meetings with staff and parents at these 10 schools to discuss Achieve 180 plans for their campuses in the 2018-2019 school year. Staff will remain in place at these 10 campuses unless a position is closed as part of the reduction in force HISD is experiencing across the district due to the $115 million budget shortfall.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner went to Twitter to express his support of the district's decision to pass on the proposal, stating many HISD students are still adjusting to normal life following Hurricane Harvey last year.