Houston, Texas (KTRK) – Houston’s new ISD leaders faced harsh and harsh comments when they held their first school board meeting Thursday night.
The room was filled with parents, teachers, and public education advocates. They were, at times, loud enough to drown out the appointed managers pushing the agenda, and then left as the crowd booed.
The speakers raised issues of trust and transparency, the 29 schools targeted for reform, and the qualifications of superintendent Mike Miles.
A recent HISD graduate said, “I want to tell you that we are more than just ranks, grades, and test scores. We need a system that supports individual growth.”
Miles will be paid approximately $1,500 per day while serving as acting supervisor and will receive $25,000 for relocation.
The directors also elected Audrey Momnay as president, Rick Campo as vice president, and Angela Lemond Flowers as secretary. They accepted a $3 million donation from a group called Good Reason Houston.
One of their most controversial decisions is to change the meeting schedule. It was announced that there would be no need to hold regular meetings on the second Thursday of each month, as previous administrations had done, without explanation.
Related: New HISD supervisor seeks waiver from TEA due to inactive state certification
“We may not even get another chance to come and talk. They don’t have to be open about how they’re going to meet now because they just voted to suspend the rules, whatever that means,” Courtney Revels, a HISD parent, said.
Kathy Bluford Daniels, an elected member of the HISD Board of Trustees, attended the meeting.
“This atmosphere, or this climate, is due to a lack of transparency. There is a lack of engagement and participation from the community at this point,” she said.
The board posted a notice of the next two meetings on the 15th and 22nd. It is not clear what will happen next.
Miles was named supervisor during the state county takeover a week ago. He brought up the idea of charter schools and announced that teachers and principals would be paid for their performance.
One of the other changes Miles announced in his first week on the job is that staff at 29 schools will have to reapply.
He also promised not to close schools in the first year of the acquisition.
Related: HISD teachers can expect salary changes in the coming year, which are factors associated with school performance
Like teachers, principals’ salaries will also be tied to performance.
Miles told ABC13 that HISD directors will earn a base salary of $110,000 to $195,000, dependent on performance based on student achievement, education quality, special education, and campus work plans.
Thursday’s meeting also brought together the newly selected nine-member board of directors who had applied to fill the position.
There are parents, alumni, and members of the community who are represented in HISD. However, the Houston Teachers Union is not happy with the board, pointing out that the TEA handpicked everyone and they were not elected by the public.
Related: Teacher compensation will be raised to $96,000 at 29 ISD schools in Houston, new superintendent says
New board member says changes are quick, but needed.
“There’s a floodgate that has opened, we’re drinking out of the firehose, and unfortunately, there’s an opportunity for us to take that and use it as a growth measure,” said Adam Revon.