Ted Heap, Constable, Harris County, Precinct 5
Eric Dick, Past President, Harris County Department of Education
Tom Ramsey, Commissioner, Harris County, Precinct 3
Visit our Endorsement page and see the growing list of community leaders, concerned parents and citizens, activists, and educators endorsing Greg Degeyter for HISD Board of Trustees.
Building Better Schools For a Better Tomorrow
HISD IS A DISTRICT IN CRISIS
In a district where approximately 60 % of the students read below grade level, the Board needs to work together to provide a quality education for students that attend HISD. The current Board is failing the students by the continued infighting. Individual campuses are out of waivers for failure to meet minimum academic requirements and at risk of having managers appointed. The Texas Education Agency is involved with litigation to suspend the board and take control of the district. The Special Education Services are in conservatorship status.
A fundamental culture change needs to occur to ensure the Board acts in the best interest of all students. The 200,000 plus students are being denied the opportunity that an education provides. Rather than focusing on solutions that pit one group against another the Board needs to focus on maximizing all student potential. When elected to the Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees, I will work to ensure every student gets the school district they deserve.
MAXIMIZE STUDENT POTENTIAL
Every student enrolled in the HISD school system should have the opportunity to reach their maximum potential based on their individual situations. Need knows no race, gender, creed, or ideology and perpetuating the black-brown divide and pitting the two groups against each other only serves to make sure everyone suffers.
Each campus has unique problems and requires unique solutions to the problems at the campus. Global aspirations are valuable to keep everyone moving in the same general direction, but they are no substitute for individualized solutions. The teachers are best situated to identify the problems facing their students because they are the ones who regularly interact with the students.
As your representative on the Board of Trustees, I will work to set up a confidential reporting system where teachers can report the specific problems they see in their classrooms and propose solutions to the problems. This is necessary so the teachers can freely report what they are observing without fear of consequences or insubordination allegations. These reports can be compiled in a database to identify issues at the specific campuses and help to craft solutions on a campus by campus basis.
PRUDENT FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP
HISD has run a budget deficit the past five years. The Board needs to work within their capability to make sure that the maximum amount of funding is received to meet district needs. The tax rate is at the maximum so the board needs to look at other areas to make sure appropriate funding is received to meet maintenance and operations requirements.
The Texas Education Code Chapter 48 section 48.102 provides for multipliers to funding for various special needs services. Providing for maximum support for special needs population increases the funding the district receives for the special needs student population. Additionally, Texas has very permissive laws for disabled children to receive Medicaid. If a family’s income is all earned income the family income can be 300% of the poverty line and a disabled child can receive Medicaid through the Medicaid Buy In for Children (MBIC) program.
As your representative on the Board of Trustees, I will push to make sure every special needs student who is eligible for Medicaid receives Medicaid. This not only helps the students receive appropriate care for their disabling condition, but it also allows HISD to charge Medicaid on a fee for service model for the interventions they are already required to provide special needs students benefiting both the disabled students as well as the district.
FOCUS ON CORE EDUCATIONAL CURRICULUM
With a majority of the student population in the district reading below grade level and individual campuses having a sustained history of failing to meet minimum levels of academic success, the district needs to focus on a core educational curriculum to ensure the district maintains local control over campuses and the district as a whole. Reading, writing, science, math, and social studies/American History are what the State uses to judge the level of academic success, and every policy goal should keep this in mind. However, this cannot come at the expense of the arts. This can be accomplished by making sure the arts stay funded and are taught in a manner that reinforces the underlying mathematical and scientific principles involved with the arts.
As your representative on the Board of Trustees, I will push to make sure every policy decision includes a specific statement on how the decision will serve to advance core educational activities and how it will serve to maintain local control. Having to justify how each policy decision promotes the core educational requirements necessary to maintain local control of campuses and the district as a whole. The Board will reorient towards these educational goals.
GREATER PARTNERSHIP WITH OUTSIDE ORGANIZATIONS
The Board and HISD needs to recognize opportunity and efficiency come with partnering with organizations that provide value to HISD. The Board needs to focus on supporting the district and providing the best value and opportunity to the district. At times that means allowing others to provide services and working with others for common goals.
One area, in particular, that is ripe for collaboration is increasing collaboration with Houston Community College. With the recent change allowing community college systems to offer four year degree programs, both HISD and HCC stand to benefit from increased advanced placement and dual credit offerings. By cooperating with HCC the portion of the student population who is ready to engage in entry level college level work is better served without burdening HISD assets.
As your representative on the Board of Trustees, I will actively seek opportunities to collaborate with outside organizations to increase efficiency and better serve all segments of the student population.