April 25, 2011; Source: Texas Watchdog | In the face of nearly 1,000 layoffs, this might not seem the most opportune time, at least from an image standpoint, for a nonprofit group that works with the Houston Independent School System (HISD) to be hiring a director of teacher recruitment. But wait there's more. The new person to help HISD recruit and hire teachers is just one of six positions that The New Teacher Project is seeking to fill to support the same district that is eliminating 950 teaching positions next year.

Nearly 75 percent of the dismissals are the result of "massive state budget cuts," and the rest due to performance issues, according to Texas Watchdog. The six jobs, all paid for by the New York-based nonprofit out of its own funds, include a communications director, business analyst, recruitment and staffing director, a director for implementing teacher evaluation systems, a senior director of teacher compensation strategy, and a senior director of teacher evaluation system design. But it's the recruiter position that sticks out in a district licking its wounds due to teacher layoffs because of budget woes.

Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, says she finds it "a little distressing" that the school district is seeking to the fill recruiter position "when we have over 700 teachers that will not have jobs next year.” Texas Watchdog reports that the six open positions listed on the nonprofit's website for its Houston operations all are full-time, include benefits and the possibility of a performance bonus, and pay between $70,000 to $95,000 a year.—Bruce Trachtenberg