HISD announces layoffs due to $115 million budget shortfall

HOUSTON — Bad news to receive on a Friday, but HISD has announced it is laying off some teachers and staff, thanks to a $115 million budget shortfall for the 2018-2019 school year. The layoffs include teachers and other district staff, but officials won't confirm the exact number of employees affected.

"200 to to 250 is what we're hearing is the layoff number," Houston Federation of Teachers president Zeph Capo said. "Obviously, any number is tough to take, but it's certainly lower than what we were hearing several months ago."

In an email sent to staff, HISD blamed the budget shortfall on the potential decline of local property tax valuations after Hurricane Harvey. It also encouraged staff to apply for other open positions in the district.

"Each of those 250 teachers who want to stay in HISD should have a place by the time we get to August, because we're going to have a significant number of teachers who resign or retire, under normal attrition," Capo said.

As HISD grapples with money woes, it is also actively searching for a new superintendent, after Richard Carranza abruptly quit in March to take a new position in New York as chancellor of schools.