Mike Miles at a HISD meeting in the presence of the Board of Managers
Mike Miles at a HISD meeting in the presence of the Board of Managers Credit: Tannistha Sinha

It has been a month since TEA intervened into the functioning of the Houston Independent School District. Several meetings have been held, plans for getting students ready for 2035 have been laid out and teachers in New Education System (NES) schools have been asked to reapply for their jobs.

As a part of the intervention, HISD principals had until Monday noon to decide whether they want to join superintendent Mike Miles’ NES program voluntarily.

To date, 50 HISD schools have signed up, joining the 28 schools that were already part of the program, according to the Houston Chronicle.

On July 6, Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles held a meeting with numerous school principals, where he presented his plans for reforms in schools. It was the same day that HISD employees were told that regarding their delayed July 5 paychecks, employees can opt for either a paper check or a direct deposit.

During the meeting, Miles also extended a final opportunity to those who had enrolled in his New Education System to reconsider their decision.

Miles’ intention was to clarify the differences between NES and NES Aligned schools. While 28 schools are already a part of the NES program, he now gave the option to other schools to join this initiative.

NES Aligned schools, however, are different. Teachers will not have to reapply for their jobs in these schools and will not receive a higher salary like the NES schools, but will instead, receive a $10,000 stipend.

“Miles also confirmed that schools do not need to be NES or NES Aligned to have access to high-quality curricula like Eureka and Amplify. Schools already scheduled to adopt these curricula can proceed as planned, regardless of their NES or NES Aligned status,” according to the Houston ISD Twitter handle.

The Texas State Teachers Association, affiliated with the National Education Association, posted on their Twitter handle, “#HISD didn’t have any system glitches until Mike Miles’ team took over. First, the termination letters, now this.”

What they are referring to is TEA’s June faux pas when HISD employees received messages that said they have been terminated from their jobs.

“HISD is aware of a recent incident involving termination messages that were mistakenly sent to a group of employees,” a district spokesperson told KHOU’s Cory McCord. “The incident occurred due to system failures. Immediate action has been taken to rectify the situation, and affected [sic] employees have been notified about the error.”

The spokesperson assured that the employees still have their jobs.

Earlier in June, the HISD Board of Managers unanimously approved Miles’ budget of $2.2 billion for the academic year.

In that meeting, he said he intended to save $30 million by cutting down central office jobs, $50 million by discontinuing services from contractors, and $25 million by ending some staff funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which is expected to run out by September 2024.

An estimated 500 to 600 jobs in HISD’s chief academic office will be eliminated, along with 40 human resources positions.

Miles estimates that the cuts from academic departments total 30% of current positions, around 3% of which were vacancies. However, more jobs in other sectors of the school district will also be eliminated in the near future, said Miles.