HISD one step closer to offering online classes – Huntsville Item

The Huntsville Independent School District Board of Trustees is requesting a waiver from the Texas Education Agency that would allow them to put its online school system in place.

At a previous meeting, the board approved the Virtual School plan, which would allow students to take HISD classes online in addition to in-class courses.

“It’ll allow much more opportunity for our students,” Johnson said. “Say a student wants to take an advances French class…they can do that (with the online system).”

The online courses would also be available for students in other areas of Texas. Johnson said this program would also boost enrollment for the school, which helps with state funding.

“If we boost enrollment, we increase (Average Daily Attendance), and therefore increase funding,” he said  Thursday.

HISD would work with a for-profit education company, K12, and Sam Houston State University to provide the tools necessary for an online course provider.

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The waivers would ask exemption from House Bill 1926, which doesn’t allow any student to enroll in more than three online classes in a school year. Currently, only one other school district received an exemption from TEA for similar measures.

Unlike HISD, that district develops everything in-house to offer its online classes. The HISD Advisory Council voted unanimously to support the passage of the three-year waiver.

The board also approved the 2013-2014 Student Code of Conduct, which only had one change to reflect a change in state law regarding discipline.

The board also approved the faculty and staff salaries for the 2013-2014 school year. The step-increases were restored after the passage of Texas House Bill 5, which restored some funding to school districts.

In addition, HISD will offer long-term substitute teachers additional funds to retain those with specialties in critical needs areas, like the sciences.

Board members also heard from the principals of Huntsville High School, Mance Park Middle School, Huntsville Intermediate School, and Gibbs Pre-K Center, who gave their assessment of the campus demographics and described their plans to improve education in the coming school year.

The board will hold a budget workshop at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 30,  in the Hawkins Administration Building.

The next regular board meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15.