May 10, 2011
MYTH: Because HISD is seeking to fill some teaching job vacancies, that must mean HISD mistakenly laid off too many teachers in response to the projected state funding cuts.
FACT: HISD is unlike most other school districts in that campus principals make their own staffing decisions. Because of an anticipated loss of $160 million in annual state funding, principals are receiving $275 per student less in 2011-2012 than they received this school year. As a result, the principals of HISD’s 300 schools notified more than 700 teachers earlier this spring that their positions were being eliminated because the principals no longer had enough funding to pay their salaries. At the same time, some principals have teaching vacancies to fill, particularly in hard-to-staff positions such as secondary math and science, and bilingual teaching jobs. Many of these vacancies were created because of voluntary resignations and retirements, not layoffs. HISD continues to receive notices from teachers who plan to resign or retire, even though the district has finished with layoffs.
Principals who have vacancies for 2011-2012 have been asked to give first consideration to teachers who were laid off as part of the budget cuts. On April 30, HISD conducted a job fair seeking to match teachers who were laid off with principals who have job openings. Throughout the spring, HISD has been providing career guidance through workshops for displaced teachers. Some of those teachers will likely be rehired to work in other schools. Many will not, particularly if they are not certified to teach in the areas where there is the most need. Ultimately, these rehiring decisions are being made by principals because HISD central administration does not tell principals which teachers to hire.