Category Archives: Budget

HISD trustees approve election after TEA significantly reduces recapture for homestead exemption

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

HISD Trustees and Superintendent heading to Austin to discuss school finance solutions

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

HISD earns state’s highest fiscal accountability rating

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.

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Up Close: A look at Proposition 1 and Recapture on the November ballot

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.

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HISD voters to decide whether to send local school tax dollars to the state

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.

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HISD voters may be asked if they are willing to send local school tax dollars to the state

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.

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HISD officials discuss impact of sending millions back to the state under “recapture” process

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.

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Board of Education approves HISD budget

Spending plan addresses loss of $162 million of local taxes because of Texas school finance system

The Houston ISD Board of Education on Thursday approved a 2016-2017 budget that seeks to minimize the classroom impact of the loss of an estimated $162 million in local taxes to the Texas school finance system.

The budget proposal passed on a 5-2 vote, with trustees Manuel Rodríguez, Wanda Adams, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Jolanda Jones and Michael Lunceford in favor. Trustees Greg Meyers and Anna Eastman were opposed, while Trustees Harvin Moore and Diana Dávila  were not present.

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HISD budget vote scheduled for Thursday

Deep budget cuts required to offset loss of  $162 million to Texas school finance formula

The Houston ISD Board of Education will meet Thursday morning to consider adopting the proposed 2016-2017 budget.

For the first time ever, due to rising property values, the state of Texas has designated HISD as a property “wealthy” district. As a result, Houston schools will lose an estimated $162 million in local tax dollars to the state, meaning deep budget cuts. In an effort to lessen the budget impact on classrooms as much as possible, Interim Superintendent Ken Huewitt’s budget proposal contains $84.3 million in cuts to central office and districtwide programs.

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HISD Board of Education to consider school bus safety measure

Trustees also to consider awarding school construction contracts

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday is expected to consider updating the Code of Student Conduct to require students riding buses equipped with 3-point seat belts to wear them. The revision also adds language encouraging students with access to lap belts to wear them as well.

The proposal is in line with last year’s commitment by HISD to only buy new buses equipped with 3-point seat belts, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recommended. Doing so adds about $8,000 to the cost of a new school bus. This fall, HISD will replace 60 older buses with new ones equipped with 3-point seat belts. These new buses will be assigned to the longest routes carrying elementary school children.

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