More on the coming HISD cuts

I repeat, this is going to suck.

An undisclosed number of Houston ISD teachers and principals received notices this week that they will be out of a job, state-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said Thursday.

Miles said principals have begun making decisions about which teachers to hire back based on certain data points, such as spot observations, performance on the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System professionalism domain and performance on the Measures of Academic Progress Growth assessment and other student achievement data.

“We are using data maybe for the first time,” Miles said during a media conference. “At this time of year, when principals assess whether or not a teacher will return, they’re looking not just at the anecdotal information, but they’re also looking at data of all sorts to assess. So that’s what principals have been doing. They’ve been looking at data.”

Miles said he did not know the specific number of teachers or principals who would not be keeping their jobs, but the district would have that information in a few weeks. Multiple teachers reported receiving notices this week to attend a Zoom call to discuss their “future employment for the district” Friday, although the exact nature of the call was not made clear.

Miles said although several teachers will not have their contracts renewed, the district was not cutting the number of teacher positions. He said the district has been hiring people to replace the teachers who would not be renewed, and HISD students would still have an effective teacher and approximately the same class size ratios during the upcoming academic year.

“Last Saturday, at the job fair, we had about 1,500 to 2,000 teachers apply for about 800 positions. Several hundred where offers were made,” Miles said. “I don’t know the exact number, but it’s … maybe 500 positions in the NES schools out of 5,000 that still are vacant, and those will be filled by the end of May.”

Miles said executive directors and division superintendents were also reviewing instructional, achievement and leadership data for principals and making decisions this week “based on several things” about who would be keeping their positions next year.

Along with nonrenewals of teachers and principals, Miles said Thursday that almost every department, including custodians and maintenance workers, have to cut positions, although he said he didn’t know the exact number of employees who had learned they were being cut in recent weeks.

“The budget and financial situation has been complicated this year, because of the end of our COVID relief aid, or ESSER, dollars,” Miles said. “So as a result of ESSER dollars, the district had placed a lot of money into recurrent expenses, and that meant we have not only to balance the budget, but we have to find a way to pay for the positions that were funded by ESSER.”

See here for the background. Bullet point time…

– I see no reason to believe anything Mike Miles says. I’m sure some of what he’s saying will be true, but his overall track record is way too full of untruths that you can’t count on any single thing he says to be one of them. What an absolute disaster he’s been.

– There will be one, count ’em, one public meeting at which the 2024-25 budget will be discussed. Some info on what the Board will be considering is here and here. Good luck with that.

– HISD was always going to face a budget crunch this coming year, in part because of expiring stimulus funds, in part because of the extra cost of the NES program )which Miles has never been clear about), and of course in part of the Legislature’s failure to give school districts any extra money because they were hostage to Greg Abbott’s voucher mania. School districts everywhere have had to make big cuts because of the Republican failure to fund public education. Not that Mike Miles has had anything to say about it.

– So, um, how does that bond issue fit in with this budget? Maybe not for this year, but going forward there will be costs associated with the bonds.

I just have no trust in Miles, and there’s no oversight on him. This is going to suck, suck, suck. The Press has more.

UPDATE: How does any of this make sense?

Houston ISD alerted dozens of teachers and principals of both performance-based job cuts and budget-forced reductions this week, prompting parents across the state’s largest school system to plan another round of protests as the tumultuous school year under state takeover nears an end.

Among the dozens of teachers and principals asked to leave: both the HISD Elementary and Middle School Principals of the Year in HISD in 2023.

Neff Elementary Principal Amanda Wingard confirmed in a Facebook post Thursday that the school district asked her to resign.

“I have loved Neff and the Sharpstown community for the last 35 years,” wrote Wingard, who was honored at a banquet a year ago for her leadership.

Alongside her is 2022-23 Middle School Principal of the Year, Auden Sarabia, who told his staff at Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts this week that he was asked to resign or go before the Board of Managers, a teacher and parents confirmed. Saraba has worked for HISD for 18 years.

Crockett Elementary Principal Alexis Clark is also not returning to her visual and performing arts magnet campus near the Heights.

“I’m heartbroken. We’re all heartbroken. I’ve done my best to protect my kids — they’re young — from what’s happening,” said Liz Silva, PTO fundraising chair and incoming president. “Can’t really avoid the topic anymore with them.”

Clark has been a staunch advocate for the campus, which is set to become one of appointed Superintendent Mike Miles’ 40 new New Education System schools next year. Silva and other parents received “a very cold email” Friday from the school district saying that Clark would not return for the upcoming school year. The district email did not state a reason for the change.

Emphasis mine. That is straight up cowardice. But it’s what happens when you have a completely unaccountable overlord in charge. Nobody who cares about HISD has any power over it right now.

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10 Responses to More on the coming HISD cuts

  1. Greg Shaw says:

    This is going to be bad for the folks laboring in the vineyard of teaching our kids
    But as a former teacher (5 years in HISD included), that’s usually how it works with public education in Texas.

  2. C.L. says:

    @Kuff… we get it. You don’t like Mike Mills.

    IMO, getting rid of teachers who can’t successfully increase their students knowledge base and prepare them for life post-public schools ain’t a bad thing.

    Only having one meeting on the HISD calendar, next week, to publically discuss the budget does not mean no additonal meetings will take place, it means there’s only one on the HISD calendar…at this time.

    You gave three reasons why there’s a budget crunch, then semi-dismissed two so you can focur your ire on Mills… who’s literally been in the job less than a year. I got no dog in the fight save for a paying school taxes, but for God sakes, don’t forget how HISD got to where they were in June of 2023. If HISD you consider HISD a shit show now, you have to confess HISD has been a shitshow (bribery, witness tampering, wire fraud, public corruption schemes, tax fraud, etc.) for over a decade.

  3. CL, my point is that we deserve a much greater degree of transparency than we are getting from Miles. Yes, we were always going to need to cut the budget this year, but it is also true that Greg Abbott’s hostage taking and his actual veto of an increase in funds for public education is a significant part of the reason for that – just look at all of the other school districts in a similar position. It is also true that Miles has been misleading about how he will pay for his NES program – the Central Office cuts that never did happen, for example.

    Yes, HISD has had problems and there are long-term issues that need fixing. That includes how the ESSER funds were used. I don’t want to hear about that from the guy who is currently causing more problems and not being honest about what he’s doing.

  4. Ross says:

    @C.L., HISD was getting better before Miles was forced on the district. If HISD was a shit show before Miles, it is a shittier show now. thousands of employees are being fired right now, with fired teachers being replaced by uncertified and unqualified people with zero knowledge of how to teach.

    Miles has cancelled almost all year end parties and field trips, telling teachers to schedule them on weekends, which is just plain stupid.

    The custodial and maintenance workers are all losing their jobs, but are being told they can reapply in July for hourly wages with no paid holidays, vacations or benefits. There is no plan to ensure that air conditioning is maintained through the Summer and working on commercial HVAC requires a license. There’s no way that anyone with a license and certification is going to work for $23 and no benefits.

    Miles has hired numerous central office staff with salaries over $200,000 while lying to teachers about stipends and salary rates.

    In all years prior to now, there would have been public budget workshops and budget proposals by now. The budget vote has to occur in June, prior to the start of the next fiscal year, but no one has a clue as to what Miles’ proposal is.

    Miles is not transparent, he lies, he gaslights, and worst of all is an incompetent buffoon with no business running a school district of any size.

  5. Sandra G Moore says:

    Ross…I agree with you completely. Additionally, the alleged board of trustees, imo, were put there to rubber stamp this out of control “leader” who appears to be accountable to no one…not even Mike Morath. The board should resign en masse and stop their participation in this charade!

  6. Pingback: Multiple schools protest Mike Miles | Off the Kuff

  7. Andrew Lynch says:

    These budget cuts have almost nothing to do with Miles.

    HISD was always going to face a budget crunch this coming year, in part because of expiring stimulus funds, and part of the Legislature’s failure to give school districts any extra money

  8. Bill Shirley says:

    How much of HISD’s funding comes from local taxes, and how much comes from state funding?

    They better be 51% or more if they’re throwing a hostile takeover.

  9. Ross says:

    @Bill, HISD gets nothing from the state as it has to pay recapture to the State. It’s hard to tell what is happening this year, as Moron in Chief Miles apparently doesn’t want budget information posted, unlike in the past when a comprehensive budget was available on the district website.

    A freedom of information act request was made to HISD by some folks, but the district has referred it to the AG as what I am assuming is a delaying tactic.

    It is definitely a hostile takeover. I am very glad my child graduated several years ago.

  10. Pingback: First look at the HISD budget | Off the Kuff

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