Texas Education Agency to install board of managers for Houston ISD: Here's what that means

Houston ISD board of trustees
The Houston ISD board room is about to receive a state-mandated overhaul. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Houston ISD board room is about to receive a state-mandated overhaul. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Texas Education Agency notified Houston ISD on Nov. 6 that it will be appointing a board of managers to take on the oversight role of the district, the largest in the state to receive this kind intervention. Here is a breakdown of what this means and what could happen next.

Read a copy of the TEA's enforcement action against HISD here.

What does "takeover" mean?

The intervention applies only to the board of trustees and the superintendent. The TEA commissioner has the authority to appoint a board of managers, who will serve in place of the elected trustees, in certain circumstances. The commissioner can also appoint a new superintendent or appoint interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan to the role. The board of trustees does not run the day-to-day operations of the district but should provide accountability and broad oversight of policy, budget and strategic planning. "We want to assure our students, parents, staff, and community members that our primary focus will continue to be the education and success of our students," the district said in a release.

What happens to the board of trustees?

The elected trustees, including the two members newly elected Nov. 5, will retain their positions but will be stripped of their voting powers when the managers are appointed. How they can participate and cooperate with the appointed board is not defined. When the board of managers is transitioned out, trustees are gradually phased back in over a period of years.

Why is the state taking over HISD?

Under Texas House Bill 1842, passed in 2015, if a school does not meet accountability standards after five years, the TEA must order the closure of the campus or the installation of a board of managers to improve campus performance. In fact, HISD has not been able to lift Wheatley High School's rating since 2011, prior to the state law.

This alone was sufficient cause for the TEA's takeover order, but TEA Commissioner Mike Morath also cited an accreditation investigation's findings that board members had violated the Texas Open Meetings Act, interfered with contracting processes and exceeded their authority beyond state law as cause for ordering a board replacement.

What could stop the takeover from happening?

The HISD board of trustees has filed a lawsuit and is asking for an injunction to block the takeover or at least delay its implementation until the case can be heard. The suit challenges the findings of the accreditation investigation, and a hearing is set for Dec. 5. As for Wheatley, the district or a petition of parents of students at the school could opt to close the school in order to avoid the sanctions, but that would not resolve the TEA's findings regarding the board members' conduct.

When and how will the new board of managers be selected?

The TEA has already posted an application form with a deadline of Jan. 2. Information on the roles, duties and criteria has been published on a special TEA webpage for HISD.

According to the TEA enforcement letter, "a majority of the board of managers will consist of members of the Houston ISD community who are committed to service on behalf of the students of the district and the community." Per state law, the board "must, if possible, include community leaders, business representatives who have expertise in leadership, and individuals who have knowledge or expertise in the field of education."

According to the TEA, once the call is made for a board of managers, the agency will host regional workshops and forums to explain the roles and duties of the managers. The agency will screen the applications, interview candidates, and provide them a board orientation and governance training. At that point, a list of finalists are sent to the commissioner for approval.

According to research conducted by the Greater Houston Partnership, in previous cases the process has taken around four to six months from announcing the call for a board of managers to the swearing in.
By Matt Dulin

Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


Houston-area hospitals to close include the Tomball, Spring, Heights and Bay Area locations of Kindred Hospital, according to the statement. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kindred Healthcare to close 6 Houston, Dallas locations

Four Houston-area locations of Kindred Hospital will close by March 17.

Bellaire High School
HISD exploring metal detectors, other security measures in wake of Bellaire shooting

Houston ISD is prepared to deploy metal detectors in some schools as early as the next few months.

Alternative I-45 project designs proposed by city of Houston to be unveiled to public

The Houston Planning Department will unveil design proposals for the I-45 project it plans to present to TxDOT.

I-59 highway
Southbound lanes on Loop 610, I-69 to have nightly closures until Friday

Two southbound outside lanes from Westheimer Road down to the Fournace Place ramp on Loop 610 will be closed 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning tonight until Friday, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

African American Library at thet Gregory School
Houston’s historic African American Library receives funding boost for Harvey repairs

The library is located in Houston's first public school for African Americans.

Pier 1 stores closing
Amid nationwide closures, local Pier 1 stores to shut down

Pier 1 Imports stores in Meyerland and Rice Village will be closing their doors, though a store in River Oaks will remain open.

New studio aims to bring the fun in coding for kids

A fully interactive coding studio is bringing its high-tech features to The Galleria in June.

A Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County study on eliminating ride fares left both METRO board members and officials seemingly unconvinced of the likelihood of implementing it in Harris County. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
METRO board of directors say free fare 'not feasible' for transit authority

A METRO study on eliminating ride fares left board members and officials unconvinced of the likelihood of implementing it in Harris County.

Houston City Council approves revisions to 2015 flood buyout processes

New guidelines adjust single-family and multifamily home buyout process for those affected by 2015 floods.

The interior of Eighteen36 will include a mural based on Houston's original map. (Courtesy Eighteen36)
New Houston-themed bar Eighteen36 joins Roadster Grill at former Owl Bar location

Eighteen36 will operate on the first floor, with Roadster Grill, a Greek-American restaurant based in Bellaire until 2017, on the second floor.

(Jen Para/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concert tickets go on sale Jan. 16

Lower-level seating options are already very limited.

Back to top