Mar 1, 2023 - News

Turner says Houston ISD takeover is imminent

Illustration of a pattern of apples and stacks of textbooks.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Mayor Sylvester Turner says the state's looming takeover of the Houston ISD school board could happen as soon as next week.

Driving the news: Turner said during Wednesday's City Council meeting that the takeover will happen Monday, citing "several individuals," including state lawmakers.

Why it matters: Though a takeover is largely a bureaucratic move at the highest levels of the district, the move could affect students and staff if schools are closed or turned into charters, critics say.

What they're saying: "I find that totally alarming," Turner said. "How do you come in and take over the largest school district in the state of Texas? How do you do that and do it successfully?"

Catch up quick: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) initially tried to take over the board in 2019 due to years of poor test scores at Wheatley High School, per Houston Public Media.

  • The school district opposed the move and sued the agency in 2020.
  • The case made it to the Texas Supreme Court, and in January, justices sided with the TEA, clearing the way for state-appointed managers to replace elected school board members.

The other side: Houston Community Voices for Public Education (CVPE) has long protested the takeover.

  • "It's the height of insanity," said Ruth Kravetz, co-founder of Houston CVPE. "All we're going to get is diminished student learning, schools closed and chartered, and teachers will leave in droves."

Yes, but: It's still unclear whether the state agency — led by Gov. Greg Abbott appointee Mike Morath — will follow through.

The intrigue: When asked to respond to Turner's comment, a TEA spokesperson did not confirm whether a takeover is happening next week.

  • "TEA continues to review the Supreme Court's decision in order to determine next steps that best support the students, teachers, parents and school community of the Houston Independent School District," TEA said in a statement.
  • Houston ISD did not return a request for comment.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Houston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Houston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Houston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more