• Restoration Milby - a note from student Pablo Duran

    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 AT 09:57PM
    So your class President Maritza Valdespino and I were chosen to attend the Student Community Conversation with Superintendent Terry Grier as part of Restoration Milby on September 28, 2011.

    Restoration Milby is basically a program in which we would attempt to convince the district that we deserve money in order to build a new school since we are at competition with other schools nearby, such as Eastwood Academy and KIPP, for students.

    The Historic facade or Symbolic part of Milby (which is the front) will remain intact but the rest is going down. We were told to think about topics in which we think that the HISD district needs improvement and other things such as that.

    We believe that all of the student body should be represented by us so that is why we ask you to highlight your concerns or questions and tell either your class president or me in order for us to show that everyone wants this to happen as soon as possible.

    -Pablo Duran, Managing Editor: Daily Buffalo, c/o 2012

    Proposed 2012 Bond Would Rebuild High Schools, Address Campus Needs

    Board must decide by August whether to seek approval from voters during Nov. 6 general election

    June 21, 2012

    Forty-two schools across Houston, including 24 high schools, would be rebuilt, renovated, or renewed under a recommended bond package presented for the HISD Board of Education's consideration on Thursday.

    HISD Potential 2012 Bond Package
  • Update to 2007 Facilities Assessment and Current Proposal (.ppt)
  • 2012 Facilities Capital Improvement Program Proposal (.pdf)
  • Campus facility assessment data (.pdf)
  • Educational Suitability & Technology Readiness Reference Guide (.pdf)
  • School Community Surveys
  • Elementary Schools
  • Middle Schools
  • High Schools
  • The board must decide by August whether to seek approval of the $1.89 billion proposal from Houston Independent School District voters during the Nov. 6 general election.

    While including nearly $225 million in recommended projects that would benefit students at all 279 schools in the district, the proposed bond package focuses heavily on the city's high schools. HISD's most recent bond programs approved by voters in 1998, 2002 and 2007 have primarily addressed needs at the elementary school level. The average age of HISD secondary schools now stands at 50 years, compared to 39 years for the district's elementary schools.

    Many of these schools were designed to meet the needs of students in the 1950s and are no longer able to accommodate the best instructional approaches for helping today's students meet rising academic expectations, according to independent school facilities experts who presented their findings to the board on Thursday.

    Superintendent Terry Grier agreed the district's high schools are long overdue for major improvements. "Houston's prosperity of today is rooted in the historic high schools erected generations ago by our city's visionary leaders who knew the value of a solid long-term investment," Dr. Grier said. "Now is the time for today's generation to step up and follow their lead. Houston's high schools should be places of pride for every neighborhood and, more importantly, the students they serve. Just like the baby boomers of the 1950s, our children today deserve modern campuses that will bring real value to their neighborhoods for the 50 years to come."

    The proposed bond package would completely rebuild some of Houston's most historic neighborhood high schools across the city, while others would undergo renovations and renewals. The proposal also includes new campuses for some of HISD's prestigious specialty magnet schools, including the nationally renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. The new HSPVA would be built downtown near Houston's vaunted Theater District on land that HISD already owns at 1300 Capitol.

    The proposal calls for $1.67 billion to be spent on improvements at 42 schools. This would cover:

    • $577 million to completely replace 8 high schools
      • Furr
      • High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
      • Lee
      • Madison
      • Sharpstown
      • Sterling
      • Booker T. Washington
      • Yates
    • $354 million to replace the inadequate facilities at 4 high schools
      • Bellaire
      • Lamar
      • Sam Houston
      • Westbury
    • $259 million to replace inadequate facilities and renovate 5 high schools
      • Austin
      • Eastwood Academy
      • Milby
      • Waltrip
      • Worthing
    • $27 million to build 2 new early college high schools
      • North Early College
      • South Early College
    • $61 million to renovate or renew 9 high schools
      • Davis
      • DeBakey
      • Jones
      • Barbara Jordan
      • Kashmere
      • Scarborough
      • Sharpstown International
      • Young Men's College Prep
      • Young Women's College Prep
    • $121 million to convert 4 elementary schools into K-8 campuses
      • Garden Oaks
      • Pilgrim Academy
      • Wharton Dual Language
      • Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School at Gordon
    • $74 million to replace Dowling Middle School and expand Grady Middle School
    • $126 million to replace 5 elementary schools
      • Askew
      • Condit
      • Kelso
      • MacGregor
      • Parker
    • $67 million to renovate and make building additions at K. Smith Elementary, replace inadequate facilities and renovate Tijerina Elementary, and build a new elementary school on the district's west end to reduce overcrowding

    The proposed $225 million in district wide projects would cover:

    • Technology upgrades at all HISD schools ($100 million)
    • District athletic facility improvements ($42.7 million)
    • Middle school restroom renovations ($35 million)
    • Safety and security improvements ($27 million)
    • Land acquisition ($20 million)
    Some of the schools recommended for major construction work are among those that had renovations under the 2007 bond program. In many of those cases, the previously completed work will be incorporated into the new building design, said Leo Bobadilla, HISD's Chief Operating Officer.

    School community input included in plan

    Earlier this spring, HISD hired Parsons -- national specialists in the assessment, design, and project management of education facilities -- to update the 2007 comprehensive assessment of the HISD's facilities. HISD principals were asked to engage their campus communities as they completed detailed surveys about the condition of their schools. More than 3,300 parents, teachers, and community members representing 95 percent of the district's schools participated in this feedback process. Some of the specific facility issues raised by school communities in the surveys will be addressed outside of the recommended bond through HISD's normal building maintenance program.

    Links to school community survey results for each campus, along with more details about the data that helped formulate the proposal, are posted online at houstonisd.org.

    Using this school community input, existing data from 2007, and information about the condition of HISD campuses based on work completed since 2007, Parsons experts personally inspected dozens of schools and interviewed principals and plant operators to develop the list of campuses included in the bond proposal. They took several factors into account while developing this list:

    • Overall building condition
    • Each school's educational suitability and technology readiness
    • Enrollment projections and capacity
    • Community input

    Even with the many projects included in the bond proposal, HISD schools still have many additional facility needs that remain unaddressed, according to the report presented to the board. Those needs will be identified as HISD moves forward with developing a comprehensive long-range capital improvement plan.

    Property tax implications

    Because of the district's strong fiscal management practices, HISD has been able to maintain the lowest property tax rate of the 20-plus school districts in Harris County. In addition, HISD is among the few districts in Texas that offer an optional 20 percent homestead exemption on top of the standard $15,000 exemption that other school districts offer. This means that a home with a taxable value of $200,000 in another school district that doesn't offer the optional 20 percent exemption would be taxed at a value of $160,000 in HISD (a 20 percent reduction).

    If an election is called, and voters approve the bond package, HISD would likely adopt a property tax rate increase in the future. This tax rate increase would have no impact on the homesteads of HISD residents age 65 and older, because their tax rates are frozen.

    HISD estimates that the tax rate increase would be phased in over a 4-year period, beginning with an estimated 2-cent increase in 2014. This would result in an additional $29 in taxes for the owner of a home valued at $200,000. By 2017, the total tax rate increase resulting from the bond's passage would reach 6.85 cents, raising the average tax bill by $99 a year, or $8.25 per month.

    School construction and renovation work approved by HISD voters in 2007 is nearing completion under budget. So far, HISD has opened 16 new or replacement schools under that bond program, 6 more new schools are under construction, and 2 more are in the planning stage. More than 100 HISD campuses have undergone renovations so far. Click here for more detailed information about the work completed under the 2007 bond program.

    Update: 8:45 a.m., June 25: These are the schools visited by Parsons assessors. A full visit included a Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) and an Educational Suitability Assessment (ESA). Schools with asterisks were short visits to ascertain the validity of the FCA score and did not include an ESA.

    Elementary Schools

    • Askew
    • Burnet
    • Condit
    • Kelso*
    • MacGregor*
    • Parker
    • River Oaks
    • Smith*
    • Sutton*
    • Tijerina*

    High Schools

    • Austin
    • Bellaire
    • Contemporary Learning Center
    • Furr
    • High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
    • Lamar** (Second visit for FCA validation only)
    • Lee
    • Madison
    • Milby
    • Sam Houston
    • Sharpstown
    • Sharpstown International
    • Washington
    • Westbury
    • Worthing
    • Yates

    K-8 Schools

    • Garden Oaks
    • Mandaring Chinese Language Immersion Academy at Gordon
    • Pilgrim Academy
    • Wharton Dual Language

    Middle Schools

    • Dowling
    • Grady
    • Key
    • Ryan

    Stadiums

    • Butler