HISD Board of Education approves reduction in force

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a reduction in force for certain term- and continuing-contract employees.

Trustees approved the two annual reduction in force (RIF) agenda items related to being able to execute a reduction in force of teachers and other campus-based employees, as well as certain central office employees who hold term and continuing contracts.

“Approving a RIF is something we do every year, but this year is much different because our budget reality is such that we know our workforce will actually be reduced unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory,” HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said. “We wanted to make this decision in the most responsible way possible and ensure we minimize the impact to classrooms.”

These agenda items were originally scheduled for consideration at the Board’s February meeting, but trustees voted to delay a vote until March. The updated agenda items that trustees approved exempted employees in critical shortage areas from the RIF. Those include, but are not limited to, secondary math, science, and English, bilingual education, and some special education critical shortage areas. Those critical shortage employees may be reassigned within the district.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a reduction in force for certain term- and continuing-contract employees.

Trustees approved the two annual reduction in force (RIF) agenda items related to being able to execute a reduction in force of teachers and other campus-based employees, as well as certain central office employees who hold term and continuing contracts.

“Approving a RIF is something we do every year, but this year is much different because our budget reality is such that we know our workforce will actually be reduced unlike anything we’ve seen in recent memory,” HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said. “We wanted to make this decision in the most responsible way possible and ensure we minimize the impact to classrooms.”

These agenda items were originally scheduled for consideration at the Board’s February meeting, but trustees voted to delay a vote until March. The updated agenda items that trustees approved exempted employees in critical shortage areas from the RIF. Those include, but are not limited to, secondary math, science, and English, bilingual education, and some special education critical shortage areas. Those critical shortage employees may be reassigned within the district.

In the upcoming school year, staffing at the campus level and within central office departments will be impacted by budget and staffing changes aimed at increasing equity across the district. Changes in funding models will impact individual campuses differently. Some campuses will lose staff, necessitating a reduction in force, while other campuses will gain staff.

The need for a reduction in staff in the upcoming school year is also due to the anticipated reduction in revenues because of the potential decline in property values as a result of Hurricane Harvey. A decline in property value will decrease district revenue from property taxes.

The board also approved the scheduling of a series of Board workshops concerning budget development, including centralization and decentralization models. The workshops will include information concerning per-unit allocation (PUA) and full-time equivalent (FTE) models. This workshop is at the request of the Board in the interest of transparency, equity, and good stewardship of public resources. The first workshop is scheduled for March 22 at 11 a.m. The second is to be determined.