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TEA's final report recommends replacing current Houston ISD board of trustees

A Texas Education Agency final investigative report, sent to lawmakers Wednesday evening, recommends the state appoint new leaders of Texas' largest school district.

HOUSTON — The Texas Education Agency's final report is a lot like a preliminary one we saw months ago.

Both recommend replacing Houston ISD’s board of trustees with state-appointed managers.

"I have to say we are fearful,” said HISD board president Diana Davila.

Davila is among those accused of mismanagement, infighting and even using their power to sway operational decisions, according to the report.

But she says a lot of what’s laid out has been corrected.

"We’ve done everything we could have possibly done to ensure to the community and citizens of Houston that we’re moving forward with student achievement,” Davila said.

Republican state senator Paul Bettencourt, one of the most vocal supporters of a takeover, said academic performance remains a concern within HISD.

That's despite the district’s current “B” ranking overall.

"There’s going to be a board of managers in place of the elected HISD board and, quite frankly, it can’t come soon enough,” Bettencourt said.

The Houston Federation of Teachers hasn’t always agreed with the direction of the board or its occasional controversies. But it believes voters should be the ones deciding its future and not bureaucrats in Austin.

"We always have disputes with the board, back and forth, there’s never 100 percent agreement on anything," said VP Andy Dewey. "But we’ve never asked for out board to be replaced – we wait for elections.”

At least two current trustees are not seeking re-election next week. And another two, including Davila, could be replaced.

Meanwhile, a special counsel hired by the board is working to delay if not stop any takeover.

"The commissioner still has to make a final decision on this," Davila said. "We hope, or at least this trustee hopes, that he goes through all the documentation that we submitted that debunks a lot of the allegations that were made.”

The TEA is not commenting beyond what’s in the report. 

Some suggest a final decision by the TEA could come in January.

 

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