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HISD superintendent responds to concerns over possible program cuts

HISD Superintendent Mike Miles said he's aware of the anxiety but he assured teachers and parents that they're going to try to accommodate existing programs.

HOUSTON — On Tuesday night, the new state-appointed head of the Houston Independent School District, Superintendent Mike Miles, was expected to discuss possible changes within the district.

Parents and teachers reached out to KHOU 11 News recently expressing concern that some programs -- including bilingual and fine arts -- will be cut.

So, KHOU 11 News reached out to HISD to get answers.

Miles answered some of the questions over the phone. When asked about possible changes to the 29 New Education Schools (NES schools) as part of the TEA takeover of HISD, he said, "I don't want to promise that nothing will change because that's not true. We do have a program of study and work that the schools will have. But again, I think we're going to be able to accommodate most of the programs that are already existing."

Jackie Anderson, with the Houston Federation of Teachers, said she's also received texts and emails about the same concerns. Some teachers told Anderson they heard about cuts to bilingual and fine arts programs and they were worried about their job security.

"I'm concerned because we hear a lot about cuts, but we're not hearing about a lot about what's going to be added to support these students in the 29 schools because we know all of those schools weren’t IR (Improvement Required) campuses, but they are being affected in this transition," Anderson said.

As far as teachers possibly losing their jobs, Miles said NES teachers could lose a position, but not their contracted jobs.

"If you are at an NES School and you are a teacher, librarian, counselor, principal, or assistant principal, you may lose a position but you will not lose your contracted job," Miles said. "Meaning that if you don't receive a job in the schools, you will receive a similar job at the same salary somewhere in the district."

So, what about the programs at the NES schools?

Miles said he is aware of the anxiety over it but he assured teachers and parents that they're going to try to accommodate existing programs.

HISD released this statement:

"All NES schools will now have a dedicated English Language Arts block for English language development.

"The curriculum will focus on the Science of Reading and provide up to two hours of differentiated instruction each day.

"This includes bilingual support for emerging English speakers based on their proficiency level.

"These efforts aim to enhance students' language skills and promote inclusive learning environments."

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