HISD teachers weighing options as district looks to hire more before TEA's oversight begins

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Sunday, March 26, 2023
HISD takeover: Teachers have until April 15 to renew contracts
Educators currently working in HISD told ABC13 that they're reconsidering their futures amid the TEA's decision to take control of the district starting next school year.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The next shoe in the Texas Education Agency takeover story could drop three weeks from Saturday. Teachers in Houston Independent School District have until April 15 to renew their contracts. How many decide to stay could reveal much about whether educators are willing to work under state control.

Educators working in HISD have told Eyewitness News that they are reconsidering their futures. The takeover adds unpredictability on top of an ongoing teacher workforce crisis, which is a challenge for the district's recruiters.

RELATED: Action 13: What happens over the course of state's takeover of Houston ISD?

Adam Harrer is a senior recruiter at Houston ISD.

At a hiring event on Saturday, he said it "definitely has been one of the biggest events we've had this year."

About 200 new and internal candidates attended Booker T. Washington High School for the recruitment fair. People from 90 campuses across the district were looking to fill open positions.

"A lot of them are leaving here with leads for next year, and we will be following up with them in the coming weeks," said Harrer.

HISD is hiring for the 2023-2024 school year, the first under a new board of managers. The President of the Houston Federation of Teachers said the uncertainty of a state takeover might lead current teachers to opt out of their contracts on April 15.

"At that time, we will have a definite answer as to whether teachers intend to return to HISD, or if they intend to go to outlying districts," Jackie Anderson said.

To attract top talent, the district is offering a $2,500 signing bonus for new teachers through June 30. That's on top of the $61,500 starting salary.

WATCH: 'It can really push out quality educators': HISD teacher voices TEA takeover concerns

Texas Education Agency commissioner Mike Morath says the changes won't happen overnight, but applications are already being accepted for a nine-person board of members.

They specifically need bilingual educators, special educators, and math and science teachers.

RELATED: Texas Education Agency ready to find new leaders for Houston ISD, now-deleted documents show

"We're attacking this recruitment season like we would any season. In terms of what we are looking for in teachers, we are going to continue to go out to universities, we are going to recruit, we will continue to host job hiring events, and we are going to continue to hire teachers," Harrer said.

However, the issue may be retention if veteran teachers decide they want to work outside the state's microscope.

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