With the Astros World Series championship parade slated for Friday, the Houston Independent School District has announced a district-wide closing of schools on Friday to allow students and staff to attend the celebration.
“This is a memorable moment for our city and a time to celebrate, especially after the challenges Houston has faced over the past several months,” HISD superintendent Richard Carranza said in a press release.
The decision raises some questions as to how schools that are already making up time lost to Hurricane Harvey will be able to meet the state’s minutes requirement. HISD has already added as much as 55 minutes to 12 schools in the district that delayed the start of the school year as much as one month from the original August 28 start date.
HISD spokesman Tracy Clemons said that the missed day has been “taken care of” and that HISD will still meet the time required by the Texas Education Agency — but refused to explain how. The minute requirement is based on Texas House Bill 2610, which changed the required instructional time from 180 days to 75,600 minutes.
Clemons said HISD spoke with TEA officials about their decision, but when asked about the closure, TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said she hadn’t known about the off-day and that HISD can make schedule decisions independently as long as it makes up the time.
With massive traffic delays expected, HISD will be closing all facilities and administrative offices as well.
Update, 5:02 p.m.:
According to HISD Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones, the district may have other reasons why it decided to cancel school on Friday.
"PSA: WHEN 950 teachers and drivers call out for tomorrow, you have to cancel school," Skillern-Jones wrote on her Facebook page. "The parade should have been Saturday!!"
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A weekend parade would have accommodated HISD students and staff wanting to attend, though Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a news conference Friday morning that the Astros had "obligations" with Major League Baseball on Saturday.
Regardless, HISD stood behind celebrating the Astros and traffic as the reasons for the cancellation, not missing nearly 1,000 staffers.