In a groundbreaking move to reshape the Houston Independent School District (HISD), Superintendent Mike Miles unveiled a series of sweeping reforms that slashed HISD headquarters by 25%.
Miles plans to slash 1,675 vacant positions and 672 filled jobs. Under the new plan, the central administration jobs will be streamlined to 7,857 positions, significantly down from the 10,204 positions budgeted during Miles’ tenure, which began in June, as reported by The Houston Chronicle.
Notably, some departments experienced even more substantial cuts than initially projected. One such example is the 331-position school’s office, which will be completely eliminated. Its responsibilities will be distributed among three new offices: “strategic initiatives,” “division superintendents/units,” and “professional development.”
The strategic initiatives department will take on a critical role, focusing on special education and overseeing the New Education System.
Miles said that the 672 employees whose positions have been eliminated have already been notified of the job cuts and will be able to reapply for new positions in the district.
Aside from school offices, the chief academic office faces the most significant reduction of more than half, from 2,478 to 1,052 positions, also exceeding the original predictions – earlier this month, Miles had predicted only 500 to 600 positions would be cut from the academic office.
Addressing concerns about the disparity between initial projections and actual cuts, Miles emphasized that early estimates were approximate and subject to change. Factors such as the elimination of vacant positions and the relocation of certain employees to different departments contributed to the variations.
While the downsizing of the central office aligns with the goal of balancing the district’s budget without affecting individual schools’ funds, Mayor Sylvester Turner has expressed reservations about the magnitude of these cuts.
“Superintendent is cutting 2300 positions from HISD. Take this as a red flag. Next- program cuts, charter schools, and school consolidations. Why? Because the state doesn’t want to fund fully public education,” Turner tweeted on Thursday.
Miles, however, maintains that these reforms are necessary to address the declining enrollment in the district. He asserts that previous trends of personnel and expenditure growth at HISD headquarters had to be curtailed, leading to reductions that would eliminate administrative “bloat.”