The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is expected to take over the Houston Independent School District on Thursday, replacing the superintendent and elected school board with state-appointed managers, as required by Texas law.
The threat of a state takeover has loomed over the district since 2019, as a consequence of several of its schools failing to meet academic standards.
TEA Commissioner Mike Morath sent a letter Wednesday to administrators at HISD informing them they would be replaced by a board of managers until the district meets state standards, implements procedures that focus on student outcomes, and complies with state and federal laws protecting students with disabilities.
The superintendent of the district, Millard House II, nevertheless expressed confidence about the future of its schools.
“Today’s announcement does not discount the gains we have made district wide,” House said in a statement. “I am confident our educators and staff will continue to do the necessary work to ensure positive student outcomes at every level. For our students and families, it is education as usual, and the school year continues as normal.”
The TEA announced the board of managers will be filled with members from across the district, including parents, others with experience in leadership, and those with backgrounds in fields such as social work, psychology, business, finance or law.
The purpose of the intervention and the new school board, according to Morath, is to better support the students.
“A school board has a solemn responsibility to focus above all else on serving all students enrolled in its school system,” Morath wrote. “It does this by ensuring its superintendent is positioned to provide a strong set of support for district teachers and staff who work directly with those students, not just on some of its campuses, but all of them. The intervention I am ordering is focused on ensuring the Houston ISD governing team is better supporting its students.”
The current Houston school board members and superintendent will remain in power until Morath makes the appointments, which are expected to come after June 1.