HPISD Board of Trustees Discusses Long-Term Goals

The HPISD board of trustees discussed how to achieve its 5-year goals, including retaining exemplary staff, keeping families engaged, and using district resources efficiently, during a Jan. 11 work session. 

The work session was part of the board’s strategic planning. HPISD’s “Strategic Plan Balanced Scorecard,” which outlines the district’s long-term goals and objectives, is available HERE. The board of trustees approved the balanced scorecard at its December meeting.

Priorities enumerated on the scorecard are “well-educated and well-rounded students,” “exemplary and committed staff,” “engaged parents and community,” and “strategic financial stewardship.”

Board members discussed improving staff retention, ensuring competitive compensation, and investing in staff development. According to data recently released in the Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR), the district’s teacher turnover rate in the 2022-23 school year was 22.7%, which was slightly higher than the state rate of 21.4%.

Board member Ellen Lee noted the importance of making sure the district’s teacher pay scale is “strategically aligned” to ensure that compensation is “competitive at every stage of a teacher’s career.” 

District and state data on teacher salaries and retention rates is available on page 31 of the TAPR. Click HERE to view the report.

Board members spoke about reducing the administrative burden on teachers. They noted that the percentage of HPISD students with Section 504 plans far exceeds the percentage statewide. Of students in HPISD, 16.2% had Section 504 plans in 2022-23, as opposed to 7.4% of Texas students, according to page 27 of the TAPR. Students with Section 504 plans have been identified as needing accommodations to help them participate in the classroom. 

The board also grappled with how to achieve the goal of reducing class size in the face of declining enrollment. Of the district’s students, 50.2% were enrolled in grades seven-12 in the last school year, according to page 27 of the TAPR Report, while 48.6% were in grades kindergarten through six. 

Lee remarked that kindergarten through sixth-grade classes were smaller than seventh-12th-grade classes statewide in HPISD’s “peer districts” — landlocked districts not adding high numbers of new families. She pointed out after the meeting that the trend of declining enrollment is likely to continue; the Texas Education Agency has said it expects enrollment to continue falling statewide until at least 2025.

HPISD’s average daily attendance is a key factor in the amount of funding it receives, so fewer students mean fewer dollars to spend on programming. Board members discussed taking action to stem the enrollment decline, maximize revenues, and reduce expenses, possibly by eventually reducing positions through attrition.

Assistant superintendent for business services Scott Drillette noted that district finances have benefited from an increase in daily attendance this school year. Attendance in the first semester this year was 96.58%, as opposed to 95.76% in the 2022-23 school year. That percentage, he said, is as high as prior to the pandemic. HPISD’s attendance rate was 96.42% in the 2018-19 school year.

Board members also discussed setting goals for student improvement, bettering parent communication, and how to emphasize the district’s honor code, including possibly by having students sign paper copies of the code.

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