HISD Board of Education Reschedules 2013-2014 Budget Vote

The Houston ISD Board of Education’s scheduled vote on the 2013-2014 budget has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday, June 24.

Board President Anna Eastman said the vote was postponed to ensure that all trustees are able to attend.

The proposed $1.62 billion budget includes $20 million to offer a longer school day and tutoring to students at struggling schools across the city.  Those schools include the original Apollo 20 turnaround schools, plus eight more: Furr, North Forest, Waltrip, Wheatly, and Worthing high schools; and Deady, Forest Brook, and Holland middle schools.

The budget proposal would ensure that HISD continues to offer the lowest tax rate among the two dozen school districts in Harris County.

The proposed budget also includes an additional $5 million for campuses to spend meeting their unique needs.  The proposal does not include money for employee salary increases.

Earlier this year, HISD finance officials predicted that the property tax rate might have to increase by as much as 6 cents per $100 assessed value. But because of increasing property values and the Texas Legislature’s decision to restore a portion of the deep cuts that were made to public education in 2011, the HISD administration is now proposing a 2-cent rate increase. Raising the HISD property tax rate by two cents would generate about $20 million in local revenue, while also providing the district with an additional $5 million to $7 million per year in state funding.

A 2-cent property tax rate increase would cost the owner of the average HISD home with a market value of $209,249 an additional $30.48 per year, or $2.54 per month.  A vote on the tax rate is set for October.

HISD is among the few Texas school districts that offer an optional 20 percent homestead exemption in addition to the standard $15,000 exemption that homeowners across the state receive.  This practice saves HISD homeowners hundreds of dollars per year compared to homeowners in school districts that do not offer the optional homestead exemption.

The Board’s meeting begins at 5 p.m. Monday in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th St., 77092).  The meeting will be carried live on HISD’s website and on the HISD Channel, which can be found on Comcast Channel 18 or AT&T Channel 99.