The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday voted 6-2, with Mike Lunceford and Anna Eastman opposed, to approve the final reading of a policy revision making the minimum school day a seven-hour, 15-minute day, including intermissions and recess.
One parent spoke against the policy change, which increases the minimum school day by 15 minutes, impacting elementary schools, and said that parents were unaware that the item was on the agenda for its final reading.
Eastman spoke against the need to add the 15 minutes to the day.
“I'm not sure 15 minutes makes a grand difference,” Eastman said.
Eastman also said she believed in the “decentralization” of the school district in allowing schools to determine their own hours.
Lunceford also made a statement about his opposition.
“I, too, believe it should be up to the schools,” Lunceford said. “I didn't support it the first time, I won't again.”
The revision was made to “provide greater clarity” on the length of the school day.
“The proposed revisions will clarify what constitutes a 'standard school day' without detracting in any way from the autonomy enjoyed by each individual school within the district, including the ability to exceed the district minimum,” Deputy Chief Academic Officer Alicia Thomas said.
The school board voted 6-0-1, with Rhonda Skillern-Jones abstaining, to approve contract nonrenewals and other personnel items as discussed during executive session.
The school board voted unanimously to approve, following executive session discussions, various settlement and resignation agreements. The agreements arose from cases before the Texas Educaiton Agency, and included:
- A settlement agreement with Elias Estrada
- A settlement agreement with Monica Horn-Malone
- A resignation agreement with Jose Faz
- A resignation agreement with Franciso Martinez
- A resignation agreement with Bobbie Bacon
- A resignation agreement with Saima Kahn
- A resignation agreement with Ivy Johnson
The school board voted unanimously to name a new facility as Pat Neff Elementary School and to change the existing Pat Neff Elementary campus name to the Pat Neff Early Learning Center.
The board voted unanimously to approve an amended memorandum of understanding with Trees for Houston.
Trustee Harvin Moore spoke in favor of the item.
“I'm really glad about this, and appreciate the work the administration has done in working with this organization, which is really one of the most innovative and successful non-profits in the United States,” Moore said. “They have greened the city like has probably never been done in another city.”
Moore discussed the trees lost during the drought last year. He said that the organization will provide a free tree for schools if irrigation is provided to ensure the tree is watered.
The board voted unanimously to move forward in a settlement agreement in the matter of Progressive Mutual Insurance Company vs. Houston Independent School District.
The board voted unanimously to approve a settlement for a property damage claim with Lexington Insurance Company regarding damage at the former Bruce facility on Bringhurst.
An proposal to rename the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice to the High School for Law and Justice withdrawn from the agenda.
All other items were approved by unanimous vote of those present at the time of the vote. Trustee Manuel Rodriguez, Jr. was absent. Agenda