Bill would reduce HISD’s 2018-19 biennium recapture payment
The Houston Independent School District supports House Bill 21, which passed the Texas House of Representatives April 20 and would lower HISD’s Recapture obligation providing approximately $40 million in additional resources for the 2018-19 biennium.
Houston voters go to the polls on May 6 to decide how to pay this year’s Recapture obligation of $77.5 million. Proposition 1 asks voters whether they want to “purchase attendance credits.” A vote for means HISD will write a check to the state, while a vote against would result in the state’s detachment and reassignment of the district’s most valuable commercial property. Early voting begins April 24, 2017, and ends May 2, 2017. Continue reading →
The Houston Independent School District Office of Budgeting and Financial Planning will make a presentation on the financial impact of recapture and detachment of commercial property on the district to the HISD Board of Education during the board’s monthly meeting on Thursday.
Last month, the board voted to call a May 6 election to ask voters if the district should pay its recapture obligation to the State of Texas by sending lower recapture payments to the state or through detachment of commercial property in July.
The Houston Independent School District has selected Rene Barajas as the district’s new chief financial officer.
Dr. Barajas currently serves as deputy superintendent and chief financial officer of the Garland Independent School District, with more than 20 years of central administration experience in public schools. He has eight years of experience as a chief financial officer.
He previously served as an assistant superintendent for business and support services for the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District as well as a business manager and internal auditor for other public school districts in Texas.
TEA will now recognize half of the local homestead exemption in recapture calculations for districts statewide. HISD voters could stop detachment of property in July.
The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday voted to call a May 6 election to ask voters to authorize sending lower recapture payments to the state rather than face detachment of commercial property in July. A May 6 election must be called by Feb. 17. The swift timing allows the district to follow the deadlines set by the state and Harris County.
Previously, HISD’s recapture obligation was estimated at $162 million. Under the Texas Education Agency’s recent announcement of recognizing half of the local homestead exemption, along with adjustments made to student enrollment and property value figures, HISD is now subject to a reduced $77.5 million recapture obligation or the removal of about $8 billion dollars’ worth of non-residential, commercial properties from HISD’s tax roll.
HISD’s Board Trustees Wanda Adams, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Anna Eastman, Mike Lunceford, and Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca voted for the approval of election. Trustees Diana Dávila, Jolanda Jones, and Manuel Rodriguez did not vote in favor of the item. Trustee Anne Sung abstained from voting. The ballot item in May, if passed, would stop the detachment and reassignment of commercial property and authorize the district to send lower recapture payments to the state than those earlier projected. If the measure fails, detachment would begin in July of 2017, unless the Legislature takes action before it adjourns on May 29. Continue reading →
Members of the HISD Board of Education and Superintendent Richard Carranza will spend two full days in Austin this week, collaborating with top state leaders to address changes to Texas’ school finance system.
Board President Wanda Adams, trustees Anna Eastman, Michael Lunceford, and Rhonda Skillern-Jones, along with Superintendent Richard Carranza will have scheduled meetings on Wednesday and Thursday with state leaders and members of HISD’s legislative delegation in Austin.
“The HISD Board of Education and administration are united in our desire to work constructively with our state leaders to identify funding solutions that put children first,” Adams said. “We all agree that Texas’ school finance system was never intended to take classroom resources from our state’s most needy children.” Continue reading →
The Houston Independent School District earned an “A” rating for “Superior Achievement” for the fourth consecutive year under the state’s school financial accountability rating system for demonstrating high-quality of financial management of taxpayer resources.
The state’s school financial accountability rating system, known as the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to better manage financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for instructional purposes.
HISD Board President Manuel Rodriguez Jr. sat down recently with Deputy Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Ken Huewitt to discuss why HISD is subject to sending $162 million in local property taxes to the state this year – and how local voters are being given the option of whether to authorize the payment under Proposition I on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Huewitt explains that the recapture payment is based on a formula – the value of property within the school district divided by the district’s weighted average daily attendance, or WADA. That results in a district’s equalized wealth level. When that number exceeds a level set by state, a district goes into recapture.
Board also calls special election for Trustee District VII
In order to comply with Texas’ school finance law, Houston ISD trustees on Thursday called a special election to let voters decide whether they are willing to send an estimated $162 million in local tax dollars to the state of Texas.
Under Texas law, HISD is now considered a “wealthy” school district because of rising property values, even though three-quarters of all students come from low-income households. As a result, HISD is being asked to pay the state about $162 million later this fiscal year. That payment cannot be made unless voters approve.
Texas’ school finance law gives HISD trustees little choice but to place an item on the Nov. 8 ballot asking voters for permission to send $165 million of their local tax dollars to the state.
Trustees will meet Thursday to consider calling the election, which is necessary because Texas’ school finance law considers HISD to be a “wealthy” district, even though 3 out of every 4 students live in a low-income household. As a property wealthy district, HISD is required by law to send an estimated $165 million in locally generated property taxes to the state. HISD, however, cannot pay the money the state says the district owes unless voters approve.
Property values in Houston are rising every year, but many of the tax dollars generated by that growth don’t stay with Houston schools. HISD must send $162 million – equal to half-a-million dollars per school – to the state of Texas this school year under a process called “recapture.”
In the latest episode of Up Close with Manuel Rodriguez, the HISD board president discusses this school funding model and its effects on HISD with Ashlea Graves, HISD director of government relations, and Glenn Reed, HISD general manager of budgeting and financial planning.