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.

If voters reject the measure, state law allows the Texas Education Commissioner to remove the most valuable non-residential, commercial properties from HISD’s tax roll. Instead of paying taxes to HISD, the owners of those properties would be taxed by another district with less property wealth. That district could impose taxes at a higher rate than HISD, which has one of the lowest property tax rates in Texas.

HISD’s budget for the upcoming school year includes $95 million in cuts to offset the impact of the loss of local money to the state. Click here to learn more about the impact of these budget cuts on schools.

Trustees to consider calling special election to replace outgoing board member

Trustees on Thursday will also consider calling a special election on Nov. 8 to fill the unexpired term of District VII Trustee Harvin Moore. Moore, the board’s longest-serving member, recently announced that he is resigning after 13 years of service. Moore’s term in office runs through 2017.

If trustees choose to call an election, candidates would have until Aug. 25 to file for a position on the ballot.

The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th Street. Click here to view the full agenda. The board meeting will be broadcast live online at www.hisdtv.org and on the HISD Channel, which can be found on Comcast Channel 18 or AT&T U-verse Channel 99.