As Austin's school district considers closing 12 schools, Texas' controversial Robin Hood system is up for debate once again. Austin's school board was presented with a draft during their Dec. 10 work session that included the closure proposal. A school district representative said, "these are drafted options as part of our budget process, which will be complete in June 2019." view article arw

Athens ISD trustees are scheduled to discuss district officials' proposed four-day instruction week in a special meeting on Friday. On Dec. 4, AISD Communications Coordinator Toni Clay distributed a press release explaining that research shows a shorter week offers many benefits to students, especially those in high school. A day earlier, Superintendent Blake Stiles called a districtwide meeting to talk about the plan, prompting applause. Over the next half hour, Stiles, joined by Deputy Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims and Assistant Superintendent Jami Ivey, explained the key components of the proposed new calendar — stressing that the Monday-through-Thursday instructional week remains only a proposal and, if implemented, would be launched as a three-year pilot program. view article arw

Houston ISD trustees on Thursday are expected to discuss and possibly vote on whether to seek proposals for private partnerships with organizations to run long-struggling schools, as well as an offer from a top Texas Education Agency official to help dramatically overhaul board operations. The two potential votes could dramatically shape the future of HISD, which faces the possibility of forced campus closures or a state takeover of the district's school board due to chronically low performance at four schools. view article arw

Former Friendswood ISD board President Rebecca Hillenburg stepped down from her position Dec. 10. She will still serve on the board as secretary. “It has been my privilege to serve as president of the school board for many years,” Hillenburg said. view article arw

The Brownwood ISD (BISD) Board of Trustees met for a regular session meeting on Monday, December 10, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. The session was called to order by Board President, Michael Cloy. Pastor Art Woodcox from Calvary Baptist Church gave the invocation. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Woodland Heights Elementary students, Remy Perkins and Elijah Waldrop. Under the direction of music teacher, Aaron Terry, Woodland Heights Elementary 2nd grade students performed a rendition of the song, “Blitzen’s Boogie.” view article arw

Phil Enis and two of his co-workers were recently honored by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association for their quick thinking in an emergency landing situation last year. Enis, a former Krum school board president, served on the board for 16 years and works as an air traffic controller in Fort Worth. He and co-workers Thomas Herd and Hugh Hunton won the Archie League Medal of Safety Award for the southwest region at the NACTA banquet in Las Vegas in October. view article arw

Education program designer and evaluator Arati Singh on Tuesday night won the Austin district at-large school board seat with 60 percent of the vote, easily outdistancing her opponent, policy adviser Carmen Tilton.  In final but unofficial totals, Singh won with 15,256 votes, or 60.4 percent, to Tilton’s 9,989 votes, or 39.6 percent.  Singh, a former teacher and a longtime district volunteer, becomes the first Indian-American to be elected to the Austin board. A daughter of immigrants, Singh was born in New Jersey and has lived in Texas for 19 years.  Singh said on election night, she was surrounded by friends she’s known for decades and other supporters she just met three weeks ago who rallied behind her campaign.  “They believed in me and my message of bringing equity and excellence to the school district,” Singh said. “I couldn’t be more proud.” view article arw

Two new Spring ISD buildings received names at the Dec. 11 board of trustees meeting. Middle school No. 8, which will be located in the northern portion of the district near Northgate Crossing and Springwoods Village, will be named Springwoods Village Middle School. The school is one of the projects included in the $300 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2016. Middle school No. 9 will focus on leadership development and will be located in the building on TC Jester Boulevard currently occupied by the Spring Early College Academy when that school relocates to Lone Star College’s North Harris campus in the 2019-20 academic year. view article arw

The San Antonio Independent School District Ethics Committee unveiled its long-awaited ethics policy at a Monday night board meeting, roughly one year after former trustee Olga Hernandez was on trial for federal bribery charges.  Trustees plan to make revisions to the nearly 40-page policy and bring it back up for discussion and a vote in 2019.  Prompted by issues broached in Hernandez' trial, the committee first started meeting in May to formulate an ethics policy that would define best practices for trustees and district staff. view article arw

It is always a pleasure to welcome new school board members to district leadership. Being sworn in and celebrated by their family and peers makes it a memorable night. Recently elected trustees Elexis Grimes and Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia were sworn in as the newest LISD board members Nov. 29. Gonzalez-Dholakia and Grimes replace two longtime trustees who did not seek re-election, Don Hisle and Will Streit. I want to thank both Don and Will for their steadfast commitment to the well-being of our students and teachers. I anticipate continued outstanding collaboration with our newest trustees. view article arw

Soaring enrollments, growing graduation classes and expansion into new buildings underscores the recent surge in popularity in online education in Alabama. But the rapid growth of so-called virtual schools is likely to soon encounter the harsh reality of a lack of access to high-speed and functioning internet in rural areas.  The issue illustrates two political pushes in Montgomery and Washington, D.C.: A need to find revenue to provide crucial connections to the state’s rural areas while politicians and educators pursue expansion of online coursework. view article arw

J.R. Humphries and Kasey Kealynn Lewis were sworn into their newly elected positions at the start of Thursday night’s Crosby ISD special meeting. Humphries ran uncontested for Position 3 and took over Position 3 from former board member John Lindsey. view article arw

Belton ISD hosts its first of three public forum Wednesday evening on the proposed new attendance boundaries. The district says with the construction of two new schools and changing one of its existing schools into the districts fourth middle school they are wanting to hear feedback from parents. “Bringing new schools on obviously means that we need to change our attendance boundaries and we’ve been working to do that to come up with some map recommendations and the board has a vision this is an open and inclusive process” Belton ISD superintendent, Dr. Susan Kincannon said. view article arw

The Carroll ISD board of trustees adopted a framework to establish a district and campus-level diversity council formed of parents, students and staff to support the school district’s diverse population during Monday’s meeting. The overall diversity council is part of CISD’s draft cultural competence action plan, which includes several other recommendations to foster a safe, inclusive learning environment for all students. The plan was developed in response to a video posted on social media by students filmed using a derogatory racial slur. The diversity council will review and advise on the cultural competence plan before it is officially approved, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Janet McDade said. view article arw

Austin school board candidate Arati Singh allegedly failed to disclose a $10,000 contribution from Education Austin’s political action committee, according to a complaint filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. The complaint, filed last week, alleges Singh did not disclose on her campaign finance reports one of two $10,000 donations from Education Austin that the labor group’s PAC included on its own reports. Singh, who is in a Dec. 11 runoff election for the at-large District 9 seat against Carmen Tilton, said the second $10,000 donation was made as an in-kind donation for digital advertising, not a direct donation as originally reported. Singh, an education program evaluator, on Monday amended her Oct. 29 campaign finance report to reflect the donation with the clarification that Education Austin didn’t give notice of the donation until after the previous filing period ended. view article arw

On Monday, the Little Elm ISD board unanimously approved the 2019-20 calendar. Trustees approved calendar option B, which was also the calendar that received the most votes in the district survey. “We developed two calendars and surveyed the community,” said Cynthia Mika, assistant superintendent for school improvement and accountability. “We had a lot of responses this year – 1,827 responses and 1,216 were parents. Calendar b was the preferred calendar with 57.7 percent of the votes.” view article arw

TEA offers to lend Houston ISD a hand

November 3008:40 AM
 

Could be a decent deal. A top Texas Education Agency official offered Tuesday to intensively work with Houston ISD’s much-maligned school board to dramatically overhaul its approach to governance, shifting focus toward student outcomes and away from distracting personal agendas. The pitch from TEA Deputy Commissioner of Governance AJ Crabill marks a unique olive branch to the state’s largest school district, which has struggled in recent months to reach consensus on vital issues. view article arw

Houston ISD trustees agreed in October to treat each other with respect following a rancorous public meeting. The truce didn't last long for two board members. Trustees Jolanda Jones and Elizabeth Santos engaged in a 30-second shouting match during a workshop Tuesday, with Jones shouting for Santos to "be quiet" and Santos calling Jones a "liar." view article arw

The McKinney ISD Board of Trustees approved the 2019-20 district calendar during Tuesday’s regular meeting.  Chief Communications and Support Services Officer Cody Cunningham said the goal this year was to sit down with principals, teachers, curriculum staff and others for input, and recommend a calendar as early as possible. The 2018-19 calendar was approved in March of this year. The 2019-20 school year starts on Aug. 15 and ends May 27 for students. As for the first day, Cunningham said teacher input led to the decision for a midweek start. view article arw

The Socorro Independent School District Board of Trustees approved boundary adjustments, which will go into effect January 2019 for new students and at the start of the 2019-2020 school year for current students. “In planning for the boundary adjustments, Team SISD’s priorities are to be good stewards of all resources and to respect families in the existing school communities,” said Marivel Macias, assistant superintendent of administrative services. view article arw

After months of community input and debate, the Hays CISD Board of Trustees Monday approved Superintendent Eric Wright’s proposed high school rezoning map by a split 4-3 vote. Map 2-A, which was created by Wright and given to the board at the Nov. 13 school board meeting, pulled influence from both Draft Maps 3 and 6, while trying to accomplish socioeconomic diversity and minimizing overpopulation throughout the district. Trustees Michael Sanchez, Teresa Tobias and Willie Tenorio voted against Map 2-A.  view article arw

Almost a year and a half after Texas' Commissioner of Education Mike Morath appointed a board of managers at Southside Independent School District, that board has a new member and a timeline to restore district governance to elected trustees. Morath appointed CPS Energy Director of Community Programs Jesse Hernandez to the board of managers. Hernandez lives in the district and is the chairman-elect of the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. view article arw

Three newly-elected trustees are officially sworn into their places at the Donna school district board. New leaders were also selected among the seven trustees by what could be a new board majority. Sworn into their places were trustees David De Los Rios for Place 5, Roberto Perez for Place 6 and Marisela Valdez for Place 7. They are replacing former board president Efren Ceniceros, who served for 8 years, John Billman, who served one term, and Eloy Avila, who also served one term but didn’t run for re-election. view article arw

There are two new voices on the Wichita Falls ISD school board and new people in leadership positions. Mark Lukert and Katherine McGregor were sworn in this evening after winning in the midterms. And for winning re-election -- Elizabeth Yeager, Bob Payton, and Tom Bursey were also sworn in. Lukert, who defeated the place three incumbent in November, wants to bring his experience as an educator, while McGregor, the new at-large trustee,  says she's excited to bring transparency to the community. view article arw

After months of committee meetings and public hearings, the Hays CISD board of trustees approved new high school attendance zones at its Nov. 26 meeting, voting in favor of Superintendent Eric Wright’s Plan 2A. The attendance zones must be changed to accommodate Johnson High School, which will open for the 2019-20 school year. Wright presented the map Nov. 12, adding it to the maps already under consideration as recommendations to the board by the rezoning committee: Plan 3 and Plan 6. view article arw

Austin ISD’s two outgoing trustees were honored Nov. 26 and two incoming trustees were welcomed by the community at the district’s final regular board meeting of 2018. District 1 trustee Edmond T. Gordon, who lost his seat in the Nov. 6 election, and board Secretary Julie Cowan, who chose not to refile for her position in District 4, both received plaques for their services and thanks from student representatives at the meeting. Before stepping off the dais, Gordon said he would continue to address the district’s racial inequalities as a member of the community. view article arw

The Huntington ISD Board of Trustees discussed student recognition, updates to the potential bond project and possibly changing how high school class rank is calculated. The board approved moving forward with a projected cost. Flowers said they estimated the projected costs to be ready by about mid-December or early January.  “They’ll come back to us over the next couple of weeks with some stuff to look at to get final numbers, square footage pricing, so if we’re going to continue we’ll know what each of those items are going to cost as we rank them and determine if we’re going to do it.”  Finally, the board discussed updates to the investigation on potentially changing the way the high school ranks students by GPA. In the last board meeting, the board voted 4-3 to review and revise the ranking system after concerns were raised about the potential for students to drop out of a course and raise their GPA. view article arw

When Rickey Callahan last week announced he wouldn't run for a fourth and final term on the Dallas City Council, Dallas ISD trustee Jaime Resendez saw an opportunity “that was too hard to pass up.”  On Monday, Resendez announced his plans to run for the District 5 seat, which encompasses Dallas’ Pleasant Grove neighborhood. That means he won’t be running for another term on the Dallas school board because both the council seat and his Dallas ISD spot are up for election in May 2019. “I’m a Dallas guy, I’m a city guy and I have so much pride in Pleasant Grove,” Resendez said. “For me, I see this as an opportunity to make an impact in the community I grew up in, and the city of Dallas as well.” view article arw

New developments on a story the News 4 Trouble Shooters first broke Monday night. The Harlandale School Board held a special meeting Tuesday evening, their first since the Texas Education Agency recommended dissolving the board and taking over management of the district. view article arw

Longtime Red Oak ISD board member Henry Lozano recently announced he will step down as vice president to focus on the needs of his family. He has he served on the board for 13 years. “This decision is not an easy one, but I feel it is the right time for me,” Lozano stated. “I feel very, very good about the hands of the district right now. The board members, superintendent, administration, teachers [...] the direction we are headed in is amazing to see, so that makes me feel good and confident about Red Oak’s future.” The board of trustees will decide in December to appoint someone for the seat until the May election or keep his place vacant until a candidate fills the remaining year of his three-year term. view article arw

In the aftermath of struggling accountability ratings, the newest member of the Huntsville ISD Board of Trustees is pushing for an increase in community involvement. Ken Holland, who was sworn-in last week as the first new board member in over five years, wanted to do his part by becoming involved and being a positive voice for the district in the community. “I didn’t run with an agenda, I just wanted to be involved in the process and in the decision-making,” Holland said. “A big part of a board member’s job is to be out and engaging in the community to get citizens involved in what we are doing.” view article arw

The Kilgore ISD board of trustees is set Monday to consider approving building plans, specifications and a proposed location for a Champion EMS substation that will be built on district property. Board members voted to amend a 10-year lease agreement with Champion EMS in September. The company will pay the district $1,200 per year to lease and maintain land on U.S. 259 near the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness. view article arw

Some Waco Independent School District board members are questioning the necessity and the price tag of using a consultant to implement a new in-district charter school for five struggling campuses. Waco ISD has already paid the nonprofit Empower Schools Inc. of Boston $260,000 this year to set up the Transformation Waco charter system. Now it is set to pay another $500,000 for an “implementation phase,” for a total of $760,000 by the end of the 2019-20 school year. The state requires a nonprofit consultant as part of a deal to shield the schools from closure and reorganize them with an influx of state money. The state will pay for the consultant services as part of a pair of grants totaling $5.4 million over 2.5 years. Still, some Waco ISD officials say they don’t see the value in the current partnership. view article arw

Former MISD school board candidate Thomas Wolfmueller has announced his support for Heidi Kirk in the District 5 runoff. It appeared that Wolfmueller would be in the runoff on Election Day, but he finished third to Kirk and John Trischitti III after provisional and mail-in ballots were counted. view article arw

First responders sign up to save lives, but a Garland ISD bus driver is being hailed as a hero. It’s not because of any danger he avoided on the roads, but because he spotted trouble lying in it: a teenage boy. view article arw