Rep. Ron Reynolds talks to FOX 26 following official announcement of HISD state takeover

It was officially confirmed on Wednesday the Texas Education Agency will be taking over Houston Independent School District.

The decision has been rumored to be ‘imminent’ for weeks and according to Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, a board of managers will be selected over the next few months to govern the district.

State Representative Ron Reynolds spoke with FOX 26'S Isiah Carey last week about the takeover which had not been confirmed at the time. He joined Carey again on Wednesday following the official announcement.

HOUSTON ISD TAKEOVER: Houston ISD TEA takeover: Board of managers to govern Texas’s largest district

Isiah Carey: You told us last week that this would happen. Now it has come to pass.

State Representative Ron Reynolds: Yeah, it's a dark day for the students, the parents, and all stakeholders. And quite frankly, I'm pretty pissed off. I was hoping I would be wrong, but my instincts told me I was right after my conversation that I had with you, with the commissioner. And sure, it came to pass that they were, he announced to the full legislative Houston delegation that in fact, HISD will be signing a getting notice today that they intend to take over the district and pretty much it would be effective June 1 of this year with a board of managers and a new superintendent.

Carey: What does this mean for the school district, and what do you think this means for the future of HISD?

Rep. Reynolds: I'm concerned. There's a lot of uncertainty. Certainly, TEA doesn't have a good track record. So I don't think this necessarily means this is going to be an improvement for the students in those affected areas like Wheatley and others. I think that it's going to be a great challenge. I think it's going to take a village for us to rally around to make sure that we're not just leaving it solely at the discretion of TEA with no accountability for these board of managers. They don't have to answer to anybody but Mike Morath. They don't have to look at us in the face, the parents, or the neighborhood, or nothing. They can literally decide to put charters into neighborhood schools, sell schools, hire whoever they want to, buy whoever they want to in terms of principals. There's so many questions, and this didn't have to happen. We still have legislation that can turn this thing around, and we told Commissioner Morath that and he acknowledged that. But he said he's proceeding board based on the past legislation, current legislation, and he intended to see it through. We're still going to fight it. There may be federal lawsuits because the stakes are too high. We can't just sit back and let this happen on our watch. They've never taken over a district of this magnitude. There's no precedent for this. The previous takeovers have been small districts. The largest one was El Paso with like 50,000 students, and the rest of it was just a handful of students. So they don't have the capacity to do this. There's no reason why, when HISD was approving. Miller House was doing a substantial job and turning it around and a new board because he brought up the board past chaos and the troubles that the previous board has. And then I said, quite frankly, it's a new board. 'Yeah, I know, But we're going forward.; So it's frustrating, and we're all wondering why they continue to play politics when the stakes couldn't be higher for our kids.

Carey: What's the endgame here State Representative Reynolds, when we talk about politics being played. Mainly conservatives have wanted this, or Republicans, rather. State Senator Paul Bettencourt says he is for this. He sent out a press release saying he is for this. What do you think the endgame is here?

Rep. Reynolds: The endgame, as I see it, is they want to indoctrinate a board of managers with their views. Views of, that don't believe in diversity, equity, and inclusion, that believe in vouchers. that believe in supporting charters over traditional public schools, that believe in the nonsense of critical race theory. So it's a whole philosophy. It's a paradigm shift. These are black and brown communities. The majority of these students in HISD are Black and brown. These schools that were making this significant progress, Wheatley has a current C rating. So this to me, is nothing more than them saying, 'Hey, we couldn't win at the ballot box with the board of trustees, so we're going to install our board of managers that we control that will do what we tell them to do.' We, being, Governor Abbott, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, and the Republicans that are leading the state of Texas. It is. It is unfortunate. It takes away everything that goes into local control and accountability at the local level because when those communities were not pleased with the current previous board members, they unelected them, they fired them. We don't, we can't fire the board of managers. Only the TEA commissioner can do that. We can't fire Mike Morath. Only Governor Abbott can do that. So it is losing local control. It is them putting their people in place to run Black and brown communities and Black and brown schools and get rid of an African-American superintendent. It would be unlikely that they would replace him with an African-American superintendent or Hispanic. But there's a lot of uncertainty. We asked that the border managers have to reside in the districts that they serve. He said no. Because HISD these made up of single-member districts where the trustee has to live within that geographical area. There is no requirement for that. And he ultimately said he'll make the decision on who will serve the governing body of the board for the governance of HISD in the future.

RELATED: TEA taking over Houston ISD: Local leaders react to Texas's largest district being governed

Carey: And you have said, you were talking about black and brown, mainly black and brown communities that make up HISD. You see this, would you be so bold as to say this is a white Republican takeover?

Rep. Reynolds: Absolutely. I'm not going to miss my words. This is a white Republican takeover. I mean, you know, I have a lot of respect for Mr. Morath. He's only doing what he's told to do. This comes from the top, from Governor Abbott and the MAGA extremists that are run in the state of Texas right now that are doing the same nonsense that I've been talking to you about. Get rid of the critical race theory, taking away women's right to choose, taking away voting rights. So this is more of the same in this. But unfortunately, this is harder because this involves our kids. This involves our future, our students. And so we're all pissed off about this. There are a few people who are celebrating right now, but they're mostly the MAGA Republicans that are in charge of the state right now. Those are the only people, that I think, celebrated. I think it's a dark day for the teachers. I've talked to the teachers union. I talked to Jackie Anderson, who is pissed off. I've talked to the bus drivers union, the custodians. They're pissed off. Wretha Thomas, I talked to her. I've talked to Bishop Dixon. I've talked to the rank and file, the grassroots of HISD. They're not happy. The parents. They're not happy. The only people I know celebrating are many of those white Republicans that are now going to be running a majority-minority Black and brown school district.