HOUSTON --Hundreds of Houston ISD teachers who were given layoff notices want to know why the district is looking to hire almost 300 new teachers next year. A district spokesman says they have known from the initial rounds of layoffs, there would later be vacancies and this all has to do with the district being decentralized, meaning each principal makes their own cuts and does all their own hiring. The Houston school district informed about 950 teachers that this year would be their last. More than 700 of the layoffs, the district claims, are due to budget shortfalls. So when 286 vacancies were posted on its website on Monday, many frustrated teachers given those layoff notices began calling their union rep. "They were so upset and so demoralized, saying this is what we thought, they are just trying to run us out and try and hire first year teachers. And that's the prevailing view few out there whether or not it's fact," Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon said. With HISD being decentralized, a teacher who is laid off at one school is not automatically transferred to another school with an opening. That teacher must interview with the new prospective principal again since each principal has autonomy on teacher hires. HISD tells us that the more than 700 laid off teachers will have first priority for the vacancies throughout the district.