After over a year without a superintendent, Houston ISD seemed ready to name a finalist in their search on Monday. However, a state-appointed overseer called a halt to the process, and now the district is back to square one.
Jacob Carpenter, education reporter for the Houston Chronicle, says the move is entirely unprecedented.
“The Texas Education Agency has taken more dramatic steps in districts before,” Carpenter says. “[But] I’m not aware of any that are so specific like this and specific to a superintendent search.”
The stated reason for the halt was a need to complete a special accreditation investigation. Carpenter says the state is looking into a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act and that the TEA announced an expansion of the investigation on Monday.
The overseer, Doris Delaney, was first appointed in 2016 to monitor Kashmere High School, which has failed to meet state standards for almost a decade. When few changes resulted from her appointment, the TEA expanded her role to include overseeing the entire school board and various administrative functions.
Carpenter says her findings have mostly been at this higher level of the organization.
“One of her big complaints has been the board’s functioning in general,” Carpenter says. “Its ability to address student achievement, its ability to hold proper meetings, to focus on important things that actually impact students.”
Carpenter says the situation fits with a trend toward chaos in Houston ISD.
“Even some trustees have called themselves dysfunctional,” Carpenter says. “Because of their inability to work together cohesively.”
Written by Sol Chase.