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Houston ISD Parents Advocate For Laid-off Teachers And Principal

Hundreds of parents and students gathered for a protest outside Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School, joining a wave of discontent that has swept through several Houston ISD campuses after scores of principals and teachers were asked to resign.

This year, HISD announced that it would be cutting jobs across the district to address a projected $450 million budget deficit.

One of those laid off is Meyerland Principal Auden Sarabia, who was named Principal of the Year the previous year. Sarabia was given the option of resigning or being terminated. If the principal chooses to be terminated, he has the right to appeal to the TEA.

“Everything going on in the district right now is absolutely ridiculous,” Karina Gates, a Meyerland alum told the Houston Chronicle. “I don’t even understand. How do you fire the Principal of the Year from last year? I don’t get it. It’s just politics. And they’re screwing with our kids and their futures, and no, no that’s not going to happen.”

The protest also targeted state-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles, with signs calling for the protection of principals and teachers. The district has not provided specific details about the number of principals affected by performance measures or the breakdown of staff reductions amid a significant funding gap.

The district has maintained that principals are not being asked to resign because of budget cuts. Instead the district says that the decisions are benign made to ensure “every student receives high-quality instruction, every day,” an HISD spokesperson said. “In some cases, we hope principals who do not retain their current position for next school year will apply for assistant principal or other roles within HISD that will help the educator grow their instructional leadership.”

The lack of clarity surrounding the principal and teacher resignations has sparked calls for transparency and accountability from various stakeholders and even elected officials like Houston City Council Member Edward Pollard, who demanded transparency and answers.

“These layoffs raise serious questions about the decision-making process within HISD,” Pollard said. “Why were these employees not given any prior notice? On what basis were the decisions made about who would lose their jobs? Such actions not only disrupt lives but also shake the very foundation of trust that should exist between a school district and its community.”

Concerns about the timing and communication of these decisions during Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day weekend have added to the frustration expressed by parents.

Meanwhile, HISD administrators have maintained that they used data and surveys to make their staffing decisions.

This year, HISD announced that it would be cutting jobs across the district to address a projected $450 million budget deficit.

One of those laid off is Meyerland Principal Auden Sarabia, who was named Principal of the Year the previous year. Sarabia was given the option of resigning or being terminated. If the principal chooses to be terminated, he has the right to appeal to the TEA.

“Everything going on in the district right now is absolutely ridiculous,” Karina Gates, a Meyerland alum told the Houston Chronicle. “I don’t even understand. How do you fire the Principal of the Year from last year? I don’t get it. It’s just politics. And they’re screwing with our kids and their futures, and no, no that’s not going to happen.”

The protest also targeted state-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles, with signs calling for the protection of principals and teachers. The district has not provided specific details about the number of principals affected by performance measures or the breakdown of staff reductions amid a significant funding gap.

The district has maintained that principals are not being asked to resign because of budget cuts. Instead the district says that the decisions are benign made to ensure “every student receives high-quality instruction, every day,” an HISD spokesperson said. “In some cases, we hope principals who do not retain their current position for next school year will apply for assistant principal or other roles within HISD that will help the educator grow their instructional leadership.”

The lack of clarity surrounding the principal and teacher resignations has sparked calls for transparency and accountability from various stakeholders and even elected officials like Houston City Council Member Edward Pollard, who demanded transparency and answers.

“These layoffs raise serious questions about the decision-making process within HISD,” Pollard said. “Why were these employees not given any prior notice? On what basis were the decisions made about who would lose their jobs? Such actions not only disrupt lives but also shake the very foundation of trust that should exist between a school district and its community.”

Concerns about the timing and communication of these decisions during Teacher Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day weekend have added to the frustration expressed by parents.

Meanwhile, HISD administrators have maintained that they used data and surveys to make their staffing decisions.

Staff
Staff
Written by RA News staff.

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