Houston ISD’s new state-appointed superintendent, Mike Miles, is requesting more authority to navigate administrative “red tape.”
During a recent work session meeting for the Board of Managers, Miles presented several revisions to the board’s policies.
One of the proposals involves granting him the authority to approve vendor expenditures of up to $2 million without requiring prior board approval. Currently, the superintendent is allowed to spend up to $100,000 on vendors without approval.
Superintendent Miles says his request for $2 million is essential for effectively managing a district the size of Houston ISD. But some state-appointed board members have expressed concerns.
Rolando Martinez questioned the significant increase in funding, especially since the administration is in the early stages of implementing the superintendent’s plans and working to establish the community’s trust.
Superintendent Miles says the request is justifiable given the HISD’s size and the frequent need for big purchases. He says the process needs to be streamlined.
At least one board member has voiced support for this proposal.
“These policies handcuff the administration they have to come to the board and say, ‘Can I settle a case for $5001.00, about a car that hit a bus?’ And it’s like are you kidding me? That is not what this board should be doing. We have very well-positioned folks that are really good at their jobs, and their responsibility is to do the work of the district. Our responsibility is to support the vision and values of the community and set high-level policy that makes the system work,” said board member, Ric Campo.
Miles has also been actively working to fill teacher vacancies.
He says when he arrived in the district in June there were 800 open teacher positions, and currently there are just over 200 vacancies. He says his goal is to start the school year with a teacher in every classroom.
Thursday evening Miles asked the board to approve his request for the state to waive teacher certification requirements for 84 teachers this year.
Many community members expressed their concern that the district is looking to hire uncertified teachers. Miles says last year HISD started the school year with 478 substitute teachers and 150 teacher vacancies. He says he’d rather start the year with teachers who’ve gone thru the interview process and training.
No decisions were made during the work session.
The board is scheduled to meet again on Aug. 10th for further discussions.