"Following almost nine months of diligent work by its School Performance Review team, the Legislative Budget Board released its Houston ISD performance review today. It is the largest school review undertaken by the LBB to date," LBB spokesperson R.J. DeSilva said in a release. "The recommendations serve as a road map a school district can use to make improvements."
The LBB, a nonpartisan, permanent joint committee of the Texas Legislature, began the process at the request of HISD's board of trustees, who called for the the review in 2018 under pressure from advocacy groups such as Supporters of HISD Magnets and Budget Accountability. The review itself cost $2 million, with HISD covering a quarter of the cost. The last time the district received this review was in 1996.
"I would like to see if there are obvious ways we can find savings and create efficiencies so we can get more money to classroom," said Heather Golden, a Heights parent and member of the advocacy group. "How can we take this information, synthesize it and create a plan that puts kids at the front with these potential findings?"
Some of the recommendations include streamlining high-level administrative positions, removing redundant positions, and eliminating programs and contracts, such as a $6.5 million annual janitorial contract the report said could be handled by district staff.
The report also noted district wins, such as its Career and Technical Education programs, bond savings and offering meals at no charge to students through the Community Eligibility Provision program.
A full copy of the review is available on the LBB website.