HISD board considering $41 million budget amendment

$2.3M in grants for mental health, afterschool support also to be considered


HOUSTON – The Houston Independent School District board will consider approving a $41 million budget amendment on Thursday afternoon.

Budget plan

If the board votes for the amendment approval, it will fund additional support for special education, pay for personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning services and supplies and provide money for computer devices and hotspots.

District officials said an additional $17 million for special education has also been under consideration since August. Those funds would provide primarily for assigning speech-language pathologists to campuses where students in need have been identified, and for expanding the number of existing Intensive Intervention Teams. According to a release, the funds would also pay for the addition of mental health specialists to address students' emotional and behavioral challenges. Additional funding will be used to increase the number of occupational and physical therapists and assistive technology specialists, according to a release.

Houston ISD tax rate

The board will also adopt the district’s 2020 tax rate of $1.1331 per $100 of taxable property value to allow the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector to begin the preparation of 2020 tax bills, according to a release.

Funding from local agencies

The board of trustees is scheduled to vote on accepting a total of $2.3 million. The funding comes from various agencies: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Texas Education Agency and the Center for Afterschool, Summer, and Enrichment for Kids.

Here’s what the funded programs will include:

  • Training to equip school officials and teachers on 15 pilot campuses to respond to traumatic or mental health crises that may precipitate violent attacks on school grounds.
  • Addressing the social and emotional impacts of disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic on HISD students, families and staff.
  • Providing academic enrichment opportunities and social-emotional skills for children who attend high-need, high-poverty, low-performing schools to help them meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects.
  • Providing out-of-school activities for Chavez High School students such as academic enrichment, fitness, counseling programs, art, music, technology and character education programs.

Additional funds will also be considered for construction on Riceville School Road for Lamar High School and $3.1 million for a new sports field and auditorium upgrades at Booker T. Washington High School, according to a press release. Construction would be completed in Spring 2021.

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