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HISD Superintendent Reveals Alarming Report on Wasteful Spending

Houston Independent School District (HISD) Superintendent Mike Miles unveiled a damning report detailing what he describes as years of extravagant expenditures within the district.

Having assumed his role over six months ago, Miles expressed a desire to delve into the district’s operations, scrutinizing areas such as transportation, staff overtime, and school maintenance practices.

In a Monday presentation, Miles shared insights gleaned from the comprehensive 31-page report, expressing his dismay at the extent of the fiscal mismanagement unearthed. “I think the level here was higher than what I expected,” remarked Miles, highlighting the gravity of the findings. “I wasn’t totally surprised, but there was some level of, ‘Wow, this is worse than a typical urban district.'”

The report zeroed in on various operational aspects of HISD, including excessive overtime, teacher absenteeism, contractor expenditures, consultant fees, and staff monitoring. Miles emphasized that the district was overspending across the board.

Among the concerning revelations was an employee accruing $90,000 in overtime pay, while nearly a thousand teachers took excessive days off without facing repercussions. Furthermore, the report shed light on a staggering $300 million spent on consultants seven years ago, constituting a significant portion of the district’s budget.

Addressing transportation inefficiencies, Miles highlighted the disparity between the district’s expenditure per student, approximately $6,400, and the average ridership of 17 students per bus. He questioned the rationale behind the acquisition of 175 buses for $20 million two years ago, asserting that the existing fleet, supplemented by over 200 backup buses, rendered these purchases unnecessary.

In response to concerns raised by union president Jackie Anderson of the Houston Federation of Teachers, who criticized Miles for lavish spending on events like convocations and the closure of libraries, Miles underscored the necessity of overhauling transportation routes to enhance efficiency and potentially save $25 million.

However, Miles acknowledged potential challenges, including longer commutes for students and potential discontent among staff due to increased monitoring of hours and stricter attendance policies. Despite these concerns, Miles remained optimistic about the changes, citing positive feedback from teachers and the community’s willingness to adapt.

While some recommendations may not immediately impact HISD students and families, Miles assured stakeholders that efforts to streamline operations and curb wasteful spending would be ongoing, albeit requiring time and concerted effort to implement effectively.