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Elementary and Primary Education
Houston ISD Board of Education
by Garrett Bryce
Friday, January 13, 2012

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday voted 8-1, with Juliet Stipeche opposed, to approve policy changes regarding termination of employment.

The change splits the district's current policy into two policies, according to Elneita Hutchins-Taylor, general counsel for the district, and comes from recent legislative changes.

“Senate Bill 8, effective September 28, 2011, provides greater flexibility for school district management which may reduce personnel costs as they relate to financial exigency and program changes,” Hutchins-Taylor said. “The bill modified non-renewal and termination procedures, allows for salary reductions, and permits furloughs for employees on probationary, continuing and term contracts.”

The policies were split to into a policy regarding reduction in force applied specifically to a financial exigency, and another policy regarding reduction in force due to program changes.

Changes in the policy also allowed for the district to implement furloughs, and put in place salary reductions, equally distributed over the course of an employee's contract, through such furloughs. Another policy change allows the district to suspend a teacher without pay, pending a discharge for good cause, for a period not to extend beyond the current school year.

The school board voted 8-1, with Stipeche opposed, to revise the district's policy regarding term contract non-renewals.

The school board voted unanimously to waive the board's policy on the naming of new facilities and name various areas of Peck Elementary School.

The policy typically requires that names for facilities be of deceased individuals who have made a significant contribution to the local community, state, or nation.

The policy was waived in order to name several areas of the school after living individuals. The outdoor pavilion the Rodney Ellis Outdoor Pavilion, in honor of Senator Rodney Ellis; the media center was named the Homer E. McCoy, Sr. and W. Harrison Media Center; the commons area the Arthur M. Gaines, Jr. Commons; the intermediate science center as the Bobbie J. Harris Intermediate Science Center; and the primary science center as the Alma Allen Primary Science Center.

The school board voted unanimously to appoint Karun Sreerama to the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 5/Memorial Heights Board of Directors.

The school board voted unanimously to approve a settlement in the matter of Houston Independent School District and HISD Public Facility Corporation vs. Ratnala & Bahl, Inc. and Balwanth Rao Ratnala, Individually, et al. The item was discussed during an executive session.

The school board voted unanimously to approve a resignation and release agreement in the matter of Houston Independent School District vs. Robert Westmoreland, which was heard before the Texas Education Agency. The item was discussed during an executive session.

The school board voted unanimously to approve personnel matters as discussed during executive session.

All other items were approved by unanimous vote. All members were present. Agenda

During the meeting, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Manuel Rodgriguez, Jr. and Paula Harris took their oaths for new terms on the board. Skillern-Jones is a new member of the board, and takes the District II seat.

The board also elected new officers, with Michael Lunceford being elected president of the board, taking over from Harris. Anna Eastman was named first vice president, Stipeche was named second vice president, Skillern-Jones was named secretary and Greg Myers was named assistant secretary.

“We’re here for the kids. That’s what we need to focus on this year,” Lunceford said. “The power of the kids is going to empower us to do what’s right.”  News Release

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