HISD frontline workers worried about job security, pay with state takeover

Some of Houston ISD's essential workers have voiced concerns over the future of their jobs following the announcement of a state takeover.

For the last several weeks, members of the Houston Educational Support Personnel (HESP Union 6315), which represents school essential workers, have been meeting with state officials in hopes of preventing the takeover.

One of the HESP's biggest concerns is that state officials don’t understand the fabric of HISD.

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"You have to know the culture, you need to know the students, you need to know the employees, you need to know the background," said Denetris Jones, Vice President of HESP.

Last Monday, 120 HISD students and HESP union members took a bus over to Austin to discuss additional mental health services for kids and employee compensation for front-line workers.

"Our essential workers include custodians, our food servers, our plant operators, our lawn keeper, our crossing guards, everyone that are essential in operations of our day to day. Right now, the average pay for any essential worker is about $14.85. If you do a national census, you will know that HISD has some of the lowest paid employees in the nation," Jones said, adding the compensation is even lower than their counterparts in other Texas districts.


"Some other districts are starting off their bus drivers anywhere from $23-$26 dollars an hour," Jones continued.

There are currently about 27,000 full and part-time employees at HISD, according to the district’s website. Many have criticized the state’s lack of transparency over what will happen next with the takeover.

"One thing we do know about the state is they’re not bringing in employees with them," Jones said.