UPDATED with response from Houston ISD Trustee Sue Deigaard.
Warning of “total obliteration of local control,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told Houston City Council Wednesday morning (March 1) that he has been alerted that the Texas Education Agency is ready to take over Houston ISD as early as next week, according to reports from City Hall by various news outlets.
Turner called a potential takeover “overreaching,” reporting his “sources” have told him it could include replacing both Superintendent Millard House II and the nine-member board of trustees with TEA-appointed officials.
Houston Public Radio reported that as late as Tuesday, at a legislative hearing in Austin, TEA chief Mike Morath said no decision had yet been made.
A state Supreme Court ruling in January cleared the way for such a takeover based on state law requiring intervention by the TEA for underperforming districts, in a case dating back to 2019 that also included specific charges of mismanagement by the elected HISD board of trustees after a state investigation.
The court said that in making a final decision about a takeover, though, TEA should consider the district’s argument that school performance has improved and that there is different management from when the initial action was filed — both a new superintendent and replacement by election of the trustees cited for questionable activities.
District V Trustee Sue Deigaard, who represents Bellaire, West University and southwest Houston, told Essentials that she had received no official information about any state action.
She said she was preparing for a session on the HISD budget Thursday. “My focus is on and will remain on our responsibility to do our due diligence for children,” she said. “Until they take away my key and my password, I’m on the board, and the rest is just noise.”
— Charlotte Aguilar (based on reports from KHOU.com, houstonpublicmedia.org, chron.com and Essentials archives)