Being a good steward of taxpayers’ money is essential to being a good leader. However, budget issues have continued to plague the district. Houston ISD trustees have approved a deficit budget in each of the last 5 years. These projected deficits have ranged from $15,000,000 to $107,000,000 annually, with several recurring expenditures coming from the district’s fund balance. Despite the state’s adjustments to recapture rules and repeated cuts to the Per-Unit-Allocation (PUA), which most directly affects students in the classroom, HISD has not yet reached a place of long-term financial stability. I believe we should prioritize the student-based model of funding for schools. We should streamline all budget items and allocate funding where needed. Once I get a chance to see the entire budget, I’m confident we will forge a way to restore the PUA.
Upon starting my job, I will first have a detailed and microscopic look at the current budget and make recommendations for change/cuts. For example, I will review and make recommendations to cut/changes in the Central Office as well as the SSO position and making sure that the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding is used effectively and efficiently. I will discover plenty of opportunities to decrease taxes.
Empower Parents and Students
First, I’ll implement constituency and coalition building to organize grass roots support for educational equity and excellence. Build an inclusive, multi-sectoral coalitions and networks involving school personnel, parents, civic leaders, political leaders, the business community and ordinary community residents. Also support organizations that give special attention to engaging populations on the margins of the school reform debate: low income, inner-city, minority, immigrant and English-language learners. Next, I would also measure and understand student achievement gaps and policies devised to close them. Then use strategic communications to convey research findings, increase public understanding and support for public schools, and build consensus on reform goals. Finally, I’d promote debate and consensus building with community groups.
By actively engaging with the principles and teaches of my district to find out how they are preparing and executing their lesson plans. Making sure their students may add to an initial pre-assessment task. I’ll commit to regular visits to the individual schools in my district. Afterwards I will share my findings with my colleagues as well as receive information from them to ensure consistency throughout the entire district. I would also search nationally and find out what “best practices” are being used in schools that are deemed successful. I am confident that once I discover where the weakness are I will be able to use acquired techniques to measure goals. I will also attend training and/or take courses that are required of me as well as instructors so that I may understand student success and failure through the lens of the educator. I will use every resource available as I did during my tenure with the city, to understand fully, all the tasks of every employee from the front to the back line. I will also use the district’s’ Long Star Governance Progress reports to stay abreast of student performance.
Be transparent in every aspect. For example, the HISD’s budget will be made available to those who seek information without delay. It is also vital that I be transparent in terms of who donates to my campaign verses who contracts are being awarded to in order to dispel any conflict-of-interest scenarios.
Better Pay for Teachers:
There’s a need incentivize and motivate our educators. Many teachers in Texas are living from paycheck to paycheck. The average teacher salary in Texas was roughly $53,000 for the 2017-18 school year, according to the Texas Education Agency. In bigger districts, teachers often earn more, such as Bellaire High School in Houston salaries could be as much as $66,000 per year. But it’s still not enough for the teacher with three kids in college. I will create agenda items to increase teacher salaries and provide incentives for examples including teachers that live in their district, individual creativity and those that increase student test results.
Expand Career and Technology Education
I will establish better marketing programs to instill in students and potential students the necessity to acquire a High School diploma and initiate programs to decrease dropouts to our students by marketing our quality education and recommending that trades and codes (vocational) are made a made available in all our high schools. The CTE program was widely available during my tenure in high school which was a vehicle that prepared me for gainful employment while granting me option whether to beginning college immediately or continuing to work as I did personally that led to a nearly 30-year great career with the City of Houston. I will make it a priority to expand the CTE program to include all HISD High Schools. When jobs are created it decreases our criminal problems in our city, decrease the forever increasing dropout rate and incentivize the need to obtain a High School diploma. The latter idea would play an important role in increase our overall test results.