HISD facing $107 million budget shortfall under current public school funding structure


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Under Texas’ current funding structure, the Houston Independent School District will be required to send millions of dollars back to the state, resulting in a projected $107 million budget shortfall for the 2016-2017 school year.

Under Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code, the state school finance system requires districts designated as property-wealthy to send tax dollars back to the state — a process known as “recapture” and commonly referred to as Robin Hood. The money is then re-distributed to districts deemed to be property-poor, as well as to the state’s general fund for use in non-education purposes.

Though nearly 80 percent of HISD students come from low-income families, the district is considered property-wealthy under the state’s current funding formula because of rising property values throughout the city.

[su_box title=”2016-2017 School Year Budget Shortfall FAQ” box_color=”#ededed” title_color=”#000000″ radius=”5″]Frequently Asked Questions[/su_box]Deputy Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Ken Huewitt told trustees that the state-mandated “recapture” payment would cause a budget shortfall that could result in significant reductions at both the campus and district level. However, Huewitt stressed to trustees that teaching and learning would remain the district’s top priority. As the 2016-2017 budget is built, he said, the focus will be on students and classrooms.

District and campus administrators have been instructed to review their respective budgets and determine where potential cuts could be made. Potential departmental reductions must be submitted by the end of next week. The amount each department has been asked to identify for potential reduction is directly proportional to their share of the district budget.

Additionally, district administrators are reviewing all central office-based contracts to determine what, if any, can be cut. Also up for consideration is the ASPIRE teacher bonus program, which provides financial rewards to educators whose students are making the strongest gains. The program would award bonuses for the current year but then be eliminated for the 2016-2017 school year, which would save the district about $10 million.

Huewitt stressed to trustees on Thursday that department and campus reductions would only be considered if there was still a shortfall after reductions had been made in central office contracts and the ASPIRE teacher bonus program.

The 2016-2017 budget update was presented on Thursday during an HISD Board of Education workshop. Another budget workshop is expected to be scheduled in early March.

2 thoughts on “HISD facing $107 million budget shortfall under current public school funding structure

  1. Cherrye Vasquez

    Principals should be pledged with sweeping through their campuses removing ineffective teachers. Administrative should be vigilant about this wide-spread transformation. We have far too many teachers in our classrooms academically ill-prepared, those who are burned out, or those who just do not care about “Teacher Efficacy,” or children, period.

    We have teachers in our classrooms that use sarcasm, profanity, inappropriate verbiage and I know of one who smokes weed that can be smelled on their clothes – no kidding.

    Principals are aloof of what really goes on in classrooms, and when parents share, most will say, “That doesn’t sound like my teacher”, or “You are the first parent who’s ever said this about my teacher. Most children love this teacher.”

    Do you really believe a student would complain about a teacher only to have the teacher adversely retaliate, and “pencil-whip” them the remainder of the school year?

    If law enforcement can have dash cams in their vehicles, why can’t classrooms be equipped with cameras? If not, have teachers open their classroom doors if there are no secrets.

    YES! Parents should train well-mannered children going into our schools that respect themselves and adults.
    We must do a better job of filtering out and assisting those targeted students who may need additional support systems otherwise not revealed coming from home.

    1. Shaun

      How do you suppose they get the money for this?

      How do you train teachers to be better without proper funding?
      How can you hire the qualified, capable people you want when the salary you can offer is insulting in comparison to what they can make elsewhere?

      Where does the money come from to be able to better access teachers? You want cameras? Where does that money come from for that? And the money to store all the data from it? And where will the money come from to pay someone to review it?

      You want better schools, better teachers, more accountability?
      All that costs money- and Texas isn’t interested in providing money for education.

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