HOUSTON (FOX 26)
As Houston Independent School District students settle into their first month of classes, the newest leader of the largest school district in Texas is doing the same.
Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza is already busy fielding feedback that he is soliciting. The former superintendent in San Francisco, Carranza launched the seven-week-long Listen and Learn Tour on Sept. 14. He will use the input to help develop his plans for Houston ISD.
Superintendent Carranza's most expensive and greatest current challenge is Recapture, known by Texas educators and parents of students as the 'Robin Hood' plan, a state formula that categorizes Houston ISD as a wealthy district and would give millions of dollars back to the State of Texas for redistribution.
Another challenge inherited by Superintendent Carranza, 49, is frustration from voters who say they did not get they were promised in the Houston ISD $1.89 billion bond program.
"My commitment to the community and the electorate in Houston is that you're gonna get what you voted for," says Carranza. "And we're going to make sure that bond is transparent is that we're implementing is what was promised to communities."
62 percent of students enrolled at Houston ISD are Hispanic, a fact not lost on Carranza. He learned to speak English when he entered a public school Kindergarten classroom, which gives him a deeper layer of understanding for English as a Second Language students.
Carranza has a mission for language diversity to serve a global economy.
"Many of those students are gonna be bilingual," says Carranza. "Many of those students are going to be trilingual. So I think it behooves us in a 21 century economy and a 22nd century economy, to give our children the opportunity to be competitive."
A native of Tucson, Ariz., Carranza is also passionate about the arts, especially music. On the day he was introduced as Houston ISD superintendent, Carranza performed with the Sam Houston High School mariachi band.