HISD slashes 170 jobs districtwide
HOUSTON Like most school districts across the country, HISD needs money and is being forced to cut back. On Thursday, the board took a major step, voting in favor of all four Reduction in Force agenda items, which means 170 people, including teachers, are losing their jobs. More than a dozen teachers squared off against HISD's board of trustees, and as the seconds ticked away on the two minutes they had to speak, so did hopes jobs would be saved. "This is an outrageous way to treat employees," one HISD staff member told school board members. With the $28 million budget deficit, the district is now cutting jobs, including 99 teaching positions. Sarah Zamora got her notice two weeks ago. "The school that I work at, I graduated from that school," Zamora said. Because of her history with the district, the bilingual teacher was emotional when she addressed the board. She is being laid off due to low enrollment and argues how the district is reducing is just wrong. "I don't understand why HISD does not transfer me to another school," she said. On Thursday night, the teachers union was also critical about the district recruiting outside of Texas at the same time they're laying off. "They just refer to you as the employer from hell," said Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. "Thank you." The board voted for the cuts, and Zamora is unsure now about her loyalty. "At this point, I don't know if I still wanna be with HISD," she said. Of the 99 teachers who got their notices, 50 have continuing contracts, so they'll be placed elsewhere, but the remaining 49, who are probationary, have to re-apply. However, they'll get first dibs every year. The district has about 1,200 open teaching positions, but still, there's no guarantee there will be a position for them.