Proposed changes to HISD charter school policy spark controversy

HOUSTON – A proposal to revise HISD’s current charter school policy is drawing fire from parents, teachers and school board members.

The president of HISD Board of Trustees, Janet Cruz, developed the measure that will be heard for first reading during a special called meeting on Thursday, Aug. 18 at 9 a.m.

Cruz’s proposed revisions include allowing a charter school to be implemented on an HISD campus once 60% of parents at a school request a charter partnership.

“The word charter I know has a lot of baggage around it. The intent was really to give true community voices to parents who haven’t had a voice in this community in a very long time,” Cruz told KPRC 2 News.

During a press conference on Monday, a coalition of parents, teachers, community members, and elected officials called for the proposal to be pulled from the meeting agenda, arguing the potential changes will bring more harm than good.

“More charter schools mean less support and equity for all of our students,” said Heather Taylor, an HISD parent and a PTO president.

Cruz said it’s an effort to partner with local non-profits and other organizations to increase enrollment and allow for new educational opportunities. But some of Cruz’s fellow board members disagree and also asked for her to pull the proposal.

“What we are serving for is all students not to have one select group or a small select group or small area decide they want to have a charter school while the rest of the children continue to have to work in the public school or community schools,” said Kathy Blueford-Daniels.

Superintendent Millard House II told KPRC 2 News that he has indicated to the board he is not in support of the proposal.