Houston ISD updates: District prepares for 41% in-person enrollment; board adopts tax rate, budget amendment

Houston ISD officials said over 40% of parents are opting to continue virtual learning for the rest of 2020. (Community Impact staff)
Houston ISD officials said over 40% of parents are opting to continue virtual learning for the rest of 2020. (Community Impact staff)

Houston ISD officials said over 40% of parents are opting to continue virtual learning for the rest of 2020. (Community Impact staff)

In its last regular board meeting before the beginning of in-person instruction Oct. 19, Houston ISD trustees approved a lower tax rate as well as a budget amendment to help the district prepare campuses for handling the return of students.

Here is a roundup of items addressed at the Oct. 8 meeting.

41% of HISD parents opt for in-person enrollment

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan told trustees that the district is preparing for the return to in-person instruction, with 41% of parents opting to bring their children back to campuses Oct. 19.

The district is providing campuses with personal protective equipment, cleaning materials, plexiglass dividers and other supplies to implement practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


On Oct. 1, the board approved a waiver that will allow the district to offer hybrid schedules at its high schools, an option that it might pursue to make it easier to spread out students on campus.

Overall enrollment sits at over 196,000, about 5% below HISD's target enrollment of 207,000, Lathan said.

The Texas Education Agency has said that it will hold districts harmless through the end of 2020 regardless of enrollment.

District deploys 53,000 devices for virtual learning

Almost half of the 105,000 laptops, tablets and hotspots ordered by the district have been deployed, officials said.

Lathan told trustees that every student that has requested a device has received one.

"If there is a blessing to COVID: We have digitized all of our kids, and that is a really big deal," board President Sue Deigaard said.

All teachers and staff who have requested devices or hot spots have been supplied as well, Lathan said.

HISD approves tax rate, budget amendment

The board also approved a slightly lower tax rate, $1.1331 per $100 valuation, for fiscal year 2020-21.

A budget amendment of $41 million was also approved, allocating funds toward COVID-19 supplies and $17 million in new special education initiatives.

The district was cited in a TEA investigation Sept. 29 for shortcomings in its handling of special education. The agency recommends that the state appoint an official to oversee improvements.

The HISD board of trustees next meets Oct. 12 for a workshop session. It will also hold a community input meeting on district goals Oct. 15.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


MOST RECENT

key in door lock
Evictions continue in Houston as new measures aim to stem tide

Over 32,000 eviction cases were filed in Harris County courts in 2020.

Houston City Hall in rainbow lighting
Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrates five years of service

The organization is open to all and serves members throughout the Greater Houston area.

Landmark's River Oaks Theatre is at risk of closing if it cannot come to an agreement over unpaid rent with Weingarten Realty, the owner of the retail center. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
Iconic River Oaks Theatre at risk of closing

The theater has not paid rent since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Houston.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Greater Houston Builders Association President Keith Luechtefeld discusses power, plumbing, frozen pipes after Winter Storm Uri

Keith Luechtefeld spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about some of the short-term and long-term repercussions of the storm as well as some of the reasons why so many homes saw burst pipes during the freezing weather.

OKA will open at a 9,000-square-foot store at 3461 W. Alabama St., Houston, in April, showcasing London-inspired interior design. (Courtesy OKA)
British design retailer OKA picks Houston's Upper Kirby for US expansion

The British design and interiors retailer OKA will open its Houston store in April.

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys will bring a new “H-Town Originals” sandwich to Houston in collaboration with Dr. Peter Hotez, chair of Tropical Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital, co-director of Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development, and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. (Courtesy Liana Bouchard/Legacy Restaurants)
Antone’s Po’ Boys to bring new Dr. Hotez sandwich to Houston

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys will donate 50% of proceeds from the sales of the sandwich to support the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

Winter Storm Uri led to closures across the Greater Houston area during the third week of February. (Courtesy Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County)
‘It’s been a rough year for us’: Expert explains economic effects of winter storm, ongoing pandemic in Houston region

“It's been a rough year for us economically; it's been a rough year for us public health wise. It's just been a rough year for us psychologically—first the coronavirus and then the freeze," said Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research with the Greater Houston Partnership.

Down House Heights
Heights restaurant Down House has closed

The coffee shop, bar and restaurant opened in 2011.

Rothko Chapel
Rothko Chapel marks 50 years with event series

Houston art patrons John and Dominique de Menil first revealed Rothko Chapel to the public over three days 50 years ago, Feb. 26-28, 1971.

The $560 million central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E. (Courtesy Houston Airport System)
Parking garage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to be demolished to make way for new Mickey Leland International Terminal

The international central processor, which is part of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal, will replace the parking garage for terminals D and E.