Potential HISD takeover by Texas Education Agency comes with much precedent, warning

Chaz Miller Image
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Potential state takeover of HISD comes with precedent, warning
As the rumors continue of HISD being taken over by the Texas Education Agency, some people fear it could come with less money for teachers, fewer resources, and larger class sizes.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Texas Education Agency tells ABC13 there are two active cases of the state taking over a school district as rumors continue to swirl that Houston Independent School District will be the third such example.

Those include Shepherd and Marlin independent school districts, and Mayor Sylvester Turner has said that the TEA plans on replacing HISD's entire board, as well as Superintendent Millard House II, in the coming days with appointees of their choosing.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Houston ISD superintendent says little about timeline of possible TEA takeover

There was a media frenzy at an event where both the superintendent and the mayor were present on Thursday. While Mayor Turner had much to say, Superintendent House did not.

Numbers from the TEA say it's happened 15 times overall in Texas, with El Paso and Beaumont among the previous cases.

The agency did it in Beaumont in 2014 as a result of "deficiencies in financial management."

That district returned to local control in 2020, but a man Eyewitness News spoke to has a warning regarding a potential takeover of HISD.

Darrell Antwine, who wound up serving on the district's school board once the state ceased control, said many of the appointees were unable to connect with the community.

"Mostly everybody was professional, or rich, or owned a car dealership," Antwine said on the individuals appointed by the state. "They weren't dealing with the people in the neighborhood."

Those fears were echoed by Houston Federation of Teachers President Jackie Anderson.

RELATED: 'Total obliteration': Mayor Turner says HISD takeover by the Texas Education Agency is imminent

"Explain to me how this is in the best interest of 190,000 students, their parents, the community, or the city," Houston Mayor Turner said. Here's what the takeover would entail.

"With our democratically-elected school board, we have people who are accountable, people who know us," she said.

Anderson is also concerned that a state takeover could come with less money for teachers, as well as fewer resources and larger class sizes.

The TEA told ABC13 it's possible that a superintendent could remain in power during such a takeover and that anyone appointed to the board will be culled from the local community.

Turner said he's heard House will be replaced as part of possible changes coming to HISD.

In the meantime, both Anderson and Antwine urge anyone not in favor of the state taking over its largest district to contact their elected officials and current school administrators.

"If we want changes, we need to have the parents in the board meetings. We have them in the basketball and football games. Why can't we get them at the board meetings?" asked Antwine. "That's the only way change is going to come."

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