Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor: New Non-Profit Provides Option for Improvement of Under-Performing HISD Schools and Local Control
December 11, 2018 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner has appointed the initial board members of a new non-profit organization that may submit a vulnerable schools improvement plan to the Houston Independent School District to avoid a district takeover by the Texas Education Agency.
“When our schools perform better and we retain local control over them, we prevent our children from failing, we prevent ourselves from failing our children, we improve our future as a city, and we control our own fate as a community,’’ Mayor Turner said.
He said the non-profit’s objective is to help students in underperforming schools in HISD through a model that fits within the HISD structure by providing additional resources and extensive instruction to those schools while HISD focuses on the remaining schools.
The non-profit, the Coalition for Educational Excellence and Equity in Houston (CEEE in Houston), plans to propose a collaboration with HISD to administer potentially 15 schools, including “improvement-required” schools and related feeder schools, in certain neighborhoods. It would rely on state per-student funding and private contributions to the non-profit.
“This is not a fight with HISD or anyone else,” Mayor Turner said. “It is an offer of support for HISD to consider. The option is solely theirs to accept or reject.”
The Houston non-profit was registered by Juliet Stipeche, director of the Mayor’s Office of Education and former president of the HISD board. She serves as a non-voting member of the CEEE in Houston board of directors.
The first voting members have proven leadership in community projects serving youth: energy executive Corbin J. Robertson Jr., business executive Trinidad “Trini” Vasquez-Mendenhall and business executive Stephanie D. Nellons-Paige. Mayor Turner plans to add six more board members.
“The model we chose is not a charter school concept,” the mayor added. “Rather it mirrors the model used by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for the Los Angeles Unified School District – a model that attracted the support of philanthropies that gave tens of millions of dollars to urban, under-performing schools, achieving positive results. We offer a similar model to HISD for the benefit of our children. It would keep the schools open but provide them with additional support at a level that makes a positive difference.”
State law allows the state to take over an entire district when some of its schools remain in the improve-required category. To potentially avoid a takeover of all the district’s 284 schools, the HISD board of trustees must first submit an improvement plan to TEA by Feb. 4, 2019.