HISD Board Holds The Line On Tax Exemptions, Saves Homeowners Millions
At its regular monthly meeting on June 10, the HISD Board of Education voted to continue its policy of giving homeowners the highest optional tax exemptions allowed under state law, saving them a total of $113 million.
The board also voted 6 to 1 to renew the contract with Community Education Partners to continue operating two secondary alternative schools. The new contract will have significant changes, including a reduction in cost of more than $4 million and new accountability measures.
New accountability features include credit completion rates, pre and post assessment results as well as truancy and dropout rates. HISD also will develop an “Intervention Behavior Model” to attempt to lower the number of students who are sent to CEP for discretionary placement. The district explored other alternatives to CEP which proved unfeasible and costly to put in place by the beginning of the next school year.
The board also voted to approve the five research-based tenets that will be the foundation of the new Apollo 20 school turn-around program. The five tenets focus on effective teachers and principals, more time on task, date-driven instruction, high dosage tutoring and high expectations. These five areas emerged as the common denominators of successful schools in the extensive research of Harvard Professor Roland Fryer who will partner with HISD in the Apollo 20 program.
The board also accepted $200,000 from JPMorgan Chase to support HISD’s Strategic Direction process, which is gathering public input to develop a road map for the future of HISD.
The meeting also included reports on the growing number of meals being served to students, the increases in the number of students earning “commended” status on the TAKS test and exceeding national averages on national achievement tests.