HISD Looks To Outside Teachers To Fill Hundreds Of Vacancies

The Houston Independent School District has told more than 700 teachers they won't have jobs next year because of budget cuts. But the district also has to fill hundreds of teaching positions that "are" in the budget because other teachers are quitting or retiring. And, as David Pitman reports, the HISD is widening its net to find the most qualified replacements.

The HISD gave the displaced teachers first crack at the roughly 200 expected vacancies in a closed job fair last month.  On Saturday, the HISD will hold another job fair.  And this time, teachers who aren't currently employed with the district will also be considered.   Ann Best is the HISD's Chief Human Resources Officer.   She says external candidates are now in the mix, because there's not a one-to-match between the soon-to-be-unemployed teachers, and the available positions.

"So, especially in our critical shortage areas, like secondary science and secondary math, it will take a combination of employees who've been displaced from the district,  who return to the district, as well as new employees, to fill all the positions that will be vacant for the next school year."

Best says the district doesn't want people to see a job fair that welcomes outside applicants as sign that the HISD has given up on helping laid-off teachers.

"If an employee was displaced due to budget cuts, they are still strong employees.  And we have worked hard, and will continue to work hard to find those folks an opportunity, where they are qualified, to re-enter the system."

Saturday's job fair will be held at Chavez High School.  Only outside applicants who have already made it through the initial screening process will be considered. The district says prospective teachers who think they can help with the district's critical shortage areas, like secondary science and math, are welcome to apply online.

Thursday’s job fair will be at Gregory-Lincoln Elementary (1101 Taft) and is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...