Impending state takeover of HISD draws strong reaction

You could call it a "dead board walking".

Houston ISD's elected leadership is set for removal by the Texas Education agency after failing to elevate chronically underperforming campuses and drawing scrutiny for potential violations of Texas Open Meetings law.

Sen. Paul Bettencourt has been a loud persistent critic.

"It's just missed opportunity after missed opportunity. They had chances to make a lot of other decisions and they just did nothing and if you do nothing and then participate in what I believe is flagrant violations of law, something bad is going to happen," said Bettencourt.

But many throughout this minority- "super majority" district believe it should be voters removing ineffective leaders, not state bureaucrats.

"The Texas education agency essentially wants to throw the baby out with the bath water. In these times we need to be very mindful of the steps we are taking to destroy what the people have put in place," said Carolyn Evans-Shabazz who has chaired the Houston NAACP's education committee.

Sixty-one percent of HISD's population is Hispanic and State Senator Carol Alvarado represents a good portion of those students. She says if the state ultimately forces new leadership on the district, those managers should look like the community they serve.

"If it happens, that people of diverse backgrounds are placed on the board, that reflect the population of HISD," said Alvarado.

Alvarado offered reassurance to parents concerned a state takeover will negatively impact the beginning of the upcoming school year.

“We want to assure parents the people on the ground the principals, the teachers I have a lot of faith in them to get this done and I anticipate that this year goes smoothly in terms of school starting on time and having kids come back and have teachers be able to do their job. I think that will be fine because these are very experienced professionals who care deeply for our kids and that’s going to be their ultimate focus.”