Houston ISD TEA takeover: HISD cuts custodian positions union officials say are essential, as district continues to reorganize

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The Houston Independent School District continues to downsize. ABC13 partners at the Houston Chronicle first reported that the district has eliminated some custodian positions.

The decision came on Friday as HISD reorganizes amid a state takeover.

All affected custodians have been notified of the position’s discontinuation, and “they are free to reapply for other open positions in the district,” HISD said in a statement.

“This is part of our ongoing effort to right-size the central office to ensure we are using resources responsibly and maximize resources in the classroom,” the statement said.

Mayor Sylvester Turner posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, questioning when enough is enough.

“How much more will we accept by those currently in charge of HISD put there by the state before we collectively stand up and say enough,” Turner said.

The district told the paper they want to ensure they are using resources responsibly, and maximizing resources in the classroom.

The number of jobs cut hasn’t been released, but those impacted have been notified and were told they could reapply for other positions in the districts.

Michelle Williams, president of the Houston Education Association, told the Houston Chronicle the way HISD dismissed its custodians was “disrespectful.”

Williams noted that custodians secure school buildings in the morning and lock up when the day is over, which she said means reducing the number of custodians could create a safety concern.

Custodial workers affected by the discontinuation can also apply for unemployment, Wretha Rawls Thomas, the president of the Houston Educational Support Personal Blue Collars Union, said in a Facebook post.

Thomas said the custodians whose jobs were eliminated were on 11-month schedules, and she’ll be working with the district to get 11-month employees converted to 12 months.

The HISD statement said the district followed established human resources procedures in managing the job cuts.

HISD continues to make cuts, including more than 2,300 administrative jobs, after the Texas Education Agency took over the district earlier this year.

The sudden announcement has a familiar tone. In August, the district used prerecorded video announcing 21 special education teachers’ job cuts, which also came as a shock.


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