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HISD parents prepare for new school year; district still hiring for several positions

Many parents spent the weekend getting ready for the start of school, but some are concerned about the readiness of the district.

HOUSTON — Summer is over for Houston’s largest school district, as Houston ISD students headed back to class on Monday.

Many parents spent the weekend getting ready for the start of school, but some were concerned about the readiness of the district.

For Gisela Martinez and her kids, back to school is a lot.

“It’s school supplies. Now we have to get school uniforms ... shots, doctors, haircuts. I mean, everything," Martinez said.

Luckily, the haircuts they got were on the house thanks to the salon She’s Happy Hair.

“It helps so much," Martinez said.

“We have almost 600 families coming in for free haircuts and backpacks and we are so grateful for that," manager Tawana Horne said.

In our KHOU 11 Back-to-School Survey, parents said one of the top concerns about the new year is school safety. Martinez agrees.

“Whether it's having to do with COVID or the school shootings, that’s scary to me. I just want them to be safe and happy, and just have fun," Martinez said.

Other worries included school lunch programs and teacher retention. Staffing enough bus drivers is another concern.

“I would say from 150 to 200, they are short," Wretha Thomas said.

HISD hasn’t yet confirmed the number of open bus driver positions but said its transportation department is not immune to the national worker shortage. HISD did say it's starting off with most of the positions filled.

The district said some bus routes will experience adjustments for more effective coverage.

“It's going to need to be figured out by the administration," Thomas said.

Thomas is president of the Houston Educational Support Personnel, a union that represents several HISD staff, including bus drivers. She said the adjustments will be doubling up on routes, which she fears will make children later to school.

"If they double those routes up, some of those kids are going to be still late getting to school in the morning to have their breakfast, and we know breakfast is the number one starter for our kids," Thomas said.

If you're interested in applying for any of the HISD open positions, click here.

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