Education News

HISD Board Approves Extra $212M For Bond Program

HISD trustees approved an extra $212 million to cover an expected construction budget shortfall.

The Houston school board has approved a new infusion of cash for the district’s troubled school construction program.

HISD trustees approved an extra $212 million to cover an expected construction budget shortfall.

Outgoing trustee Juliet Stipeche cast the lone dissent and wanted to wait for more examination of the troubled bond program.

Voters approved almost $2 billion in school projects in 2012 but the massive undertaking has run into budget problems.

HISD’s interim chief operating officer Lenny Schad says that the bond team needed authorization for extra funds to stay on track and get better priced contracts.

Other trustees said the extra taxpayer money is like getting more on a car note or house loan when the price increases.

Students also supported the measure, pleading for better conditions at Davis High School, like working water at science labs.

While the extra funding covers the shortfall, it doesn’t completely resolve another question: why the bond program is facing a funding gap.

An internal audit found examples of mismanagement and lack of competitive bidding, but HISD maintains it’s because of inflation and rising construction costs.

In November the HISD board hired consulting firm KPMG to audit the construction projects to find out more.

At the December meeting the trustees also approved a $70,000 contract for an Iowa based search firm to find a new superintendent to replace Terry Grier. He’s leaving after February.

They also voted to keep suspensions for young children as a last resort.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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