More layoffs could be coming for HISD

March 23, 2011 2:58:23 PM PDT
Just about every school district in our area is facing a budget shortfall, mainly because the state is expected to cut funding for public education. Houston ISD is taking a big hit. We already know nearly 300 teachers will be out of a job and now we're learning about hundreds more teachers who will not be back in the classroom come this fall. Danielle Reed says she is still trying to process what happened to her. She is a school nurse at Scarborough High School and was told a few days ago she was being laid off, the latest victim of severe budget cuts at HISD. She's worried the students won't have accessible health care.

"I get a lot of kids that come in and say they have a headache, only to dig a little bit deeper and find it's because they have horrible vision," Reed explained. "I will refer them to Eye Care for Kids, who has free eyeglasses. Who's going to do that if I'm not there?"

HISD says Scarborough is expected to share a nurse with another campus. It's the kind of belt tightening students and parents can expect next year.

Just this month, the HISD school board approved to not renew the contracts of 238 teachers. Five hundred teachers have already decided to leave voluntarily.

But that's not enough to balance the budget. The board is expected to approve cuts to 1,200 school-based employees such as teachers, librarians and nurses, as well as cut 282 non-classroom employees, such as administrative positions.

There is also another area where cuts are expected.

"Summer school will be a big cut also," said HISD Board President Paula Harris. "If we have summer school this year, it will be only for kids who have been retained."

HISD's board president says they will discuss these layoffs Thursday at a budget workshop.