Houston, Texas (KTRK) – The next shoe in the Texas Education Agency takeover saga may be off three weeks later on Saturday. Teachers in the Houston Independent School District have until April 15 to renew their contracts. The number of people who decide to stay can say a lot about whether educators are willing to work under state control.
The video above is from a previous report on what the HISD teacher thinks the area needs.
Teachers working at HISD told Eyewitness News that they are reconsidering their futures. The acquisition adds unpredictability in addition to the ongoing teacher workforce crisis, which is challenging for district recruiters.
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Adam Harrier is a senior recruiter for ISD in Houston.
At Saturday’s recruiting event, he said it was “definitely one of the biggest we’ve had this year.”
About 200 new and internal candidates attended Booker T. Washington High School for the job fair. People from 90 campuses across the region were looking to fill open positions.
“A lot of them are leaving here with leads for next year, and we’ll follow up with them in the coming weeks,” Harrier said.
HISD is hiring for the 2023-2024 academic year, the first under a new Board of Directors. The president of the Houston Teachers Union said uncertainty about a state takeover could lead current teachers to withdraw from their contracts on April 15.
“At that time, we will have a definitive answer as to whether the teachers intend to return to HISD, or if they intend to go to the Outback,” said Jackie Anderson.
To attract top talent, the district is offering a $2,500 signing bonus for new teachers through June 30. This is on top of the starting salary of $61,500.
WATCH: ‘It can really pay good teachers’: HISD teacher expresses concerns over TEA takeover
They specifically need bilingual teachers, specialist teachers, and math and science teachers.
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“We’re attacking this recruitment season as we would any season. In terms of what we’re looking for in teachers, we’ll continue to go to universities, we’ll continue to recruit, we’ll continue to host recruitment events, and we’ll continue to hire teachers,” Harrier said.
However, retention may be a problem if veteran teachers decide they want to work outside the state’s microscope.