The HISD Board of Trustees met Monday to hear the first report from district administrators on expectations for the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.
District officials are projecting an initial $76 million deficit, due in large part to expected declining enrollment and a modest increase in property values – both of which cause the district’s recapture payment to increase.
According to Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, any cuts to the budget to address the deficit will be done in a way that tries to minimize impact to instruction. That task is made harder given the cuts made to operational areas last year. Continue reading →
Houston-area elected officials and their staff gathered at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center on Nov. 28 to receive an update from HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and hear the district’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session in Austin.
Lathan highlighted major initiatives launched in HISD for the 2018-2019 school year and shared information about academic successes. Attendees also received a budget update from Chief Financial Officer Rene Barajas. District staff and trustees also were in attendance to meet with local, state, and federal elected officials. Continue reading →
As HISD continues to prepare a budget for the 2018-19 school year, the district anticipates a projected deficit reduction from $208 million to $115 million. This revised deficit includes several budget assumptions related to Hurricane Harvey relief and pending litigation.
When HISD first began budgeting for the 2018-2019 school year, it was in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Using a worst-case scenario, the district’s financial team projected a $208 million deficit based on four dynamic factors: the Local Optional Homestead Exemption (LOHE) lawsuit, a recapture payment to the state, a potential property tax value decreaseand an anticipated student enrollment decline. District administrators crafted a revised budget outlook for the 2018-19 school year.
The district’s legal team feels confident that the state will prevail in the LOHE lawsuit. For HISD, this means a reduction in its recapture payment because the TEA will recognize half of the 20 percent local homestead exemption given to homeowners. A decision in the lawsuit could come after a hearing this spring. A win would reduce HISD’s recapture payment by $51 million.
Under the Texas Education Code, TEA Commissioner Mike Morath has the authority to adjust property values. Based on the damage sustained from Hurricane Harvey and the lasting impact of the storm on our students and staff, we anticipate the commissioner will adjust property values, which in turn, would reduce our recapture payment. Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and other state leaders have publicly stated their support for this action. Click here to review a September 2017 press release from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that confirms his support for schools districts in Region IV impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which includes HISD. In addition, Commissioner Morath surveyed school districts after the hurricane to gather projections on their property tax collections post-Harvey. HISD estimates a $42 million adjustment for property value loss associated with Hurricane Harvey.
In addition, the HISD Board of Education favors a district budget performance review to be conducted by a firm that has previously worked with large school district budgets. An agenda item is anticipated for the April 2018 board meeting. If approved, an immediate audit would begin with a completion date set for the end of the year.
Financial impact of Harvey and recapture creating deficit for 2018-2019 school year
As HISD begins to prepare a budget for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, the district is estimating a $208 million shortfall as result of the financial impact of Hurricane Harvey and recapture.
HISD has seen a decline in student enrollment and is planning for a further decline for the coming school year, which will mean a decrease in state funding. The district also anticipates the storm will have a significant impact on the city’s property values, which will be released in April 2018. HISD’s main source of funding is property tax dollars. To date, the district has received no indication of how much and when they’ll be reimbursed for Harvey-related expenditures.
These factors, combined with the district’s 2018-2019 recapture payment, is creating an estimated $208 million deficit and is requiring HISD to make difficult choices about how funds will be allocated at the school and district level for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. Continue reading →
HISD Board President Wanda Adams recently visited with General Manager of Budgeting and Finance Glenn Reed to discuss the importance of the Recapture issue on the May 6 ballot.
During Adams’ inaugural episode of On the Yard, which will be featured monthly on HISD-TV, Reed outlined the consequences of both options under Proposition 1: a vote for, to purchase attendance credits from the state, or a vote against, to have commercial property detached from HISD tax roll. Continue reading →
HISD voters will be asked on May 6 to decide how the district will pay its Recapture obligation to the state of Texas.
Voters will choose between two options—purchase attendance credits from the state or have commercial property detached. A vote against purchasing attendance credits means that the district permanently will lose tax collections for certain commercial properties. A vote for purchasing attendance credits means that HISD will write a check to the state for local property taxes and continue to make annual recapture payments as long as property wealth grows. A number of community town hall meetings are scheduled for the public to learn more about the vote and HISD’s Recapture status: Continue reading →
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 →
Early voting is underway in an election that includes a measure critical to HISD students and the community: Proposition 1.
Voters will be asked to decide whether to authorize a payment of $162 million in local property tax dollars from HISD to the state by purchasing “attendance credits.” The Proposition 1 ballot language will read:
Authorizing the board of trustees of Houston Independent School District to purchase attendance credits from the state with local tax revenues.
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.