The Houston Independent School District (HISD) Superintendent Mike Miles is pushing forward with a bold overhaul of the education system by incorporating an additional 19 campuses into the New Education System (NES) for the 2024-25 academic year, as reported by KTRK. These 19 schools have opted in following assessments and deliberations, taking HISD's total NES-designated schools to approximately half of the district despite previous indications from Miles that budget constraints would allow for only up to 14 new additions.
In a move to address concerns about fiscal responsibility, the superintendent highlighted an extensive review with HISD's chief financial officer, detailing a strategy to fund the NES integration, which is anticipated to cost around $6 million by tightening the budget, the funding is to come from daily operational efficiencies and reduced wasteful spending this approach is believed to leave the district with an $850 million fund balance, as Miles asserted in a statement obtained by the Houston Chronicle. The 19 joining campuses include Austin and Bell High Schools, among others, and are part of a larger reform that has been fraught with contention among parents and educators.
Pablo Lambea, a parent at Love Elementary School — one of the campuses that declined NES designation — voiced concerns about changes in leadership and the commitment to resources for non-NES schools during an interview with KTRK, saying, "At the end of the day, there is no real accountability. HISD, Miles - they've been placed here by the state. They don't answer to the community. They don't answer to the voters in Houston, so it's extremely frustrating,"
At Reynolds Elementary, the NES overhaul has been met with approval from PTO president Tyisha McCray who is excited about the injection of additional funds and resources that the NES model promises, such as the Dyad program which enlists community members to teach special subjects like photography and gardening with this move, McCray believes that the children at Reynolds will greatly benefit from the NES framework, she told the Houston Chronicle. As the district prepares for the induction of these campuses into NES, many eyes are fixed on the outcomes of these transformative measures and whether they will enhance or disrupt the educational pathway for students in America's fourth-largest city.