Houston ISD news to follow
2 0 2 1 S P E C I A L E D I T I O N
OTHER STORIES TO FOLLOW IN 2021
TOP EDUCATION STORY OF 2021
Enrollment decline clouds scal picture Houston ISD stands to lose as much as $90 million in attendance-based amended twice already, Lathan said, and another amendment is expected in February to deal with COVID-19 expenses. As of Nov. 2, HISD’s enrollment BY MATT DULIN
District set to roll out free rapid COVID-19 testing program As part of a statewide program, Houston ISD will begin oering free COVID-19 rapid testing to students and sta in January. The BinaxNow swab test kits can be self-administered under supervision, and results are available within 15 minutes, according to the Texas Department of Emergency Management, which is overseeing the K-12 COVID-19 Testing Project. HISD will receive over 50,000 test kits monthly, according to TDEM data, which will allow it to test all sta members and some students. Tests are optional and may be given even when symptoms are not present. Students under age 18 have to obtain parental permission to be tested.
Education Agency can move forward with replacing the Houston ISD board of trustees, an action rst blocked by a Travis County judge in January 2020. In April, a state appeals court ordered the injunction to remain in place, and in December, that court ruled that the Travis County injunction was properly imposed. The TEA has a case before the Supreme Court over the matter and plans to le an additional appeal. District of Innovation process underway Houston ISD continues to work on developing its formal District of Innovation plan. A committee of 15 people, including one for each of the nine trustee districts and ve superintendent appointees, was formed in October to draft the plan. The district wants to use the status to set an earlier school start date, oer exibility around the minimum attendance rules for class credit, and allow for the hiring career and technical education teachers under dierent certication requirements. The plan will be subject to review by the HISD District Advisory Committee, followed by public comment for 30 days, prior to a board of trustees vote.
funding from the state if it cannot bring enrollment numbers back to pre-COVID-19 levels, which poses a challenge for the next budget plan- ning cycle, interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan told trustees Dec. 10. A provisional policy from the Texas Education Agency to disregard atten- dance for funding calculations was set to expire Dec. 31. Lathan said the district could absorb budget losses this year without deep cuts. “We’re using our savings account, just like you would do at home. That’s what’s getting us through this school year,” Lathan said, referring to the district’s fund balance, which had $655 million in unrestricted funds at the end of scal year 2019-20. “As we prepare for 2021-22, we have to prepare for those cuts.” The FY 2020-21 budget has been
was 197,059, about 10,000 fewer than the projected 207,000. About 4,000 fewer prekindergarten students were enrolled as parents opted out amid the pandemic, Lathan said.
HISD’S ENROLLMENT SUFFERS A SETBACK
After COVID-19, Houston ISD experienced a 5% drop in enrollment, eroding any ground gained in 2019-20.
rapid test kits per month for HISD 50,000+
0 160K 180K 200K 220K SOURCE: HOUSTON ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Trustees await Texas Supreme Court ruling on state takeover The Texas Supreme Court could ultimately decide whether Texas
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