In the background are concerns about a projected $76 million budget deficit in 2019-20. that equates to around 4 percent of the district’s total spending.
How toxic. This is why board development is so essential. These folks either need to get voted out and/or need serious mediation or I fear that the state will step in and take them over. Ideally, leadership would be a united front in the other direction of advocating for greater funding support and equity in school finance.
They should be allied, for example, with the the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) and the Houston Federation of Teachers (HFT) and advocate for higher teacher salaries while shunning the widely-discredited policy agenda for standardized-test-based, merit-based pay system (see Loeb, et al. , The State Role in Teacher Compensation). This latter proposal, supported by Gov. Greg Abbott and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, is not only flawed, riddled with issues of measurement while pitting teachers against each other and incentivizing teaching to the test, it also represents a band aid and about face to what all Texas teachers deserve just to make a decent living. Plus, ample research supports the idea that paying teachers well is key to districts being able to recruit and retain high-quality staff (e.g., Loeb, et al., 2009; Murnane & Olsen 1989).
What an incredible opportunity cost for the HISD board—or any board, for that matter, to not run with the data and advocate for our schools and children.
And the schools, parents and most especially, the children, pay the price for all of this dysfunction. And the neoliberal agenda to privatize schooling waits in the wings with bated breath, poised to capitalize on this situation and win. Let's not let this happen to one of the largest school districts in the nation.