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Let's Turn HISD over to the Management Geniuses at City Hall
by Bill King
Monday, April 02, 2018

Everyone knows that HISD is struggling these days. With a number of chronically failing schools and a huge budget gap, it appears that the State is on the verge of a take-over. Recently, the idea has been floated to turn HISD over to the City of Houston to manage, as has been done in some other large cities. This is a truly brilliant idea.

Now I know there are some of you that will be skeptical about turning over our schools to city officials that have no experience or profession credentials in education. But look at what they have accomplished with little apparent technical competence at much of anything.

Just think about the financial acumen the gurus at City Hall can bring to bear on HISD's problems. The City just staved off bankruptcy by reneging on pension promises made over decades and deferring the payment on the balance owed on the pensions until after the current crop of city officials are safely out of office. Now that is the kind of courageous fiscal leadership we need at HISD.

And the City recently issued $1.5 billion in bonds to catch up on pension payments it missed, purchase vehicles and do deferred maintenance on its buildings. HISD's last bonds were squandered on rebuilding all of its dilapidated high schools. What a waste of money!

HISD has a paltry cost per employee of only about $70,000 while the City of Houston's is nearly $100,000. I am sure the City can get that cost up in no time. Just think of the economic development that will spur.

The City could use HPD to guarantee school safety. A department that is able to catch 6% of the burglars and 14% of robbers will bring a completely new level of security to HISD's campuses.

Since the City has fixed all of the potholes and repairs all of Houston's streets, it could use the excess road repair capacity to resurface all of HISD's parking lots.

Maybe the City could get the TIRZs and management districts involved with running HISD. The Uptown TIRZ could tear up all the streets in front of the HISD schools and build dedicated bus lanes. And the City could use 380 agreements to have large campaign contributors build schools we don't need and lease them back to HISD.

The City could bring back its former press secretary to supervise HISD's Open Records request and its former Public Works Director for ethics compliance, especially as it relates to how contractors can make loans to HISD officials that they know will never be paid back and not get indicted.

During hurricanes we would no longer have to worry about HISD buses being flooded because we know the City would never allow something like that happen. Technicians from the City's crime lab could give lectures on laboratory procedures. And we can get the City to synchronize HISD's class schedules like they do the lights downtown.

There is almost no end to the benefits of having the City of Houston run HISD.

Of course, we could just skip having the City run HISD and instead turn it over the teachers' union and the HISD contractors and vendors, so it would be run like the City. No sense in having those pesky taxpayers and parents sticking their noses in where they don't belong!

Truly, I think we are really on to something here. Just imagine if HISD were run as effectively and efficiently as the City . . .

 

Happy Belated April Fool's Day!

 



Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership


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