HISD budget cuts coming

This is going to get ugly.

Houston ISD’s state-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said Friday afternoon that the school district is facing an estimated $450 million gap in funding that will largely be made up by staff reductions as federal pandemic relief money expires and student enrollment continues to decline.

Miles has said previously that the majority of the cuts will come from HISD’s central office, and that his aim is to keep them “as far away from the classroom as possible.” His remarks Friday, though, appear to give the first indication of how widespread those cuts may be.

“We can’t cut $450 million in people, we wouldn’t be able to operate central office, but that’s the money we have to find in additional revenue, a small use of the fund balance and then cuts,” Miles said. “So most of that is cuts.”

HISD officials said last week that several central office departments have been reducing staff since January. On Thursday, those cuts appeared to accelerate as HISD notified scores of student support specialists that their positions were being eliminated, according to the Houston Landing.


Miles said the $450 million gap between the district’s revenue and expenditures won’t entirely be made up of cuts, noting the district will use about $80 million from its fund balance and make back a small amount through the sale of “dilapidated buildings” and other strategies. The remainder, however, will likely be made up by eliminating thousands of positions, primarily in the central office.

Individual campuses, however, will not be immune from the crunch. Miles said in March that schools that are not in his New Education System may see cuts of up to 12%, as the district returns to a pre-pandemic funding formula that awards dollars based on attendance and enrollment, and which had been paused for years as students shifted to and from remote learning.

The planned cuts and layoffs are occurring as the number of HISD employees who are making more than $200,000 has tripled since last year. The district is also planning to spend at least $120 million more toward increasing teacher salaries and expanding the controversial NES program to 45 more campuses next year.

The 130 NES schools, where Miles is concentrating his biggest reforms, may see slight budget increases due to their staffing model, which sees teachers earn substantially more money and support from “teacher apprentices” and “learning coaches.”

Remember, Mike Miles has talked big about his fiscal plans, and that has largely been bullshit. He has made promises about teacher pay that turned out to be bullshit. He made promises about wraparound services staff that turned out to be bullshit. Why should we believe anything he says?

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4 Responses to HISD budget cuts coming

  1. 37 HISD administrators are currently paid over $200,000 annually? Before layoffs, I’d like to see those inflated salaries reduced. Miles shouldn’t be making $380,000. That’s ridiculous.

  2. Ross says:

    As much as I despise Miles. $380k is a reasonable salary for the head of an organization the size of HISD.

  3. This HISD school system is so screwed up right now it’s pitiful. The TEA brought Miles in to supposedly make it better and it has bent a mess since. HISD was never in the news daily as it is now, and I mean everyday there’s an issues. They have never been over budget as they are now, so who made it worse? The students or Mr Miles and TEA? It’s no longer about the students, it’s about Miles, TEA and money. They allowed him to come in and spend money like no other school leader ever have, on wasted equipment, and other things and now they have screwed up and taking it out on the teachers and students. It’s a mess than it ever have been and both TEA and Miles should be ashamed of themselves. They have turned peoples lives upside down and are screwing over their best educators as well as the most important ones, the kids. Took away the libraries and threw out their special Ed teachers as if the special Ed students no longer matters. It’s all about money and now that they’re over budget and poss messing with their pockets, they want to cut more jobs. They really need to shut down the entire HISD system and start over, because right now, it’s a joke!

  4. Pingback: More on the coming HISD cuts | Off the Kuff

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