Education

TEA Rep Tells HISD Trustees They Are Valued But As Of June 1, Access to Legal Protection and HISD Email is Over

The TEA's Steve Lecholop lays out the plans for the departing Houston ISD board of trustees.
The TEA's Steve Lecholop lays out the plans for the departing Houston ISD board of trustees. Screenshot

A wary group of about-to-be former Houston ISD trustees met with Texas Education Agency's deputy commissioner for governance Thursday about the transition to an appointed board on June 1 and learned they will lose access to their HISD email and they will no longer have legal representation once they leave the board.

But they are going to get to participate in graduation ceremonies.

Steve Lecholop encouraged board members to share their "incredibly valuable" knowledge of the community with the incoming board of managers who will be appointed by TEA Commissioner Mike Morath. He encouraged them to let the new board know "Who are the members of the community that would be prudent for the new board to engage with, connect with or to interact with" and act as "a liaison to the community."

He also encouraged them to help the new board "develop the vision and values" for the school district as well as helping them define new goals for the district.

Board member Kendall Baker asked if the present board members would be accorded the courtesy of knowing who their replacements are before a general public announcement is made, and that was a no.

Trustee Sue Deigaard asked if the swearing in would be public and Lecholop said the best way to do that was still being discussed.  He did emphasize that the present district employees will be retained and "the trains are still going to run on time. Not going to stop the new district operations."

The minimum number of years before the present board would all regain their seats would be five, Lecholop confirmed in answer to a question from Baker. That's if the district meets all TEA criteria (including no failing schools) after two years and then a third of the board would be reinstated at one year intervals after that.

Lecholop would neither confirm nor deny rumors that Mike Miles, the former Dallas ISD (2012-15) superintendent and a known supporter of charter schools, will be appointed as superintendent of HISD. Whoever is appointed superintendent will have an interim contract for 21 days until the new board formally hires him. Current plans call for the board of managers will be sworn in on the same June 1 day they are named.

Whoever is named superintendent will not exit at the same time as the elected board is reinstated, Lecholop said. Their term of service will be determined by the contract that is signed, he said.

Once named, the board of managers will embark on a 90-day "community engagement strategy  that is rolled out for the new board members" to get to know their new jobs, Lecholop  said. Their first meeting has been delayed until June 8 with a plan to have the 2023-24 school budget signed off on by June 22, he said.

"This is a temporary intervention," Lecholop pledged. "The board will return to elected leadership." 
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