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
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
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
As the 85th Texas Legislature convenes today in Austin, the state’s school finance system is the top priority on HISD’s legislative agenda, and the district will ask state lawmakers to make changes that would keep local tax dollars in Houston schools.
Under the state’s current school finance system, HISD is considered “property wealthy” and is subject to sending $162 million in local property taxes to the state – a process known as “recapture.” But on Election Day, Houstonians voted down the ballot measure that would have authorized the $162 million payment and future payments totaling more than $1 billion. This means that, starting in July, the Texas Education Agency can detach $18 billion worth of nonresidential, commercial property from HISD’s tax rolls and reassign those businesses to other school districts for taxing purposes. The TEA will continue to detach property every July for the foreseeable future.
The Houston ISD is very disappointed in today’s decision but, we remain committed to working with the Texas Legislature on a long-term fix for an outdated state school finance system. Today, the Texas Supreme Court declared the school finance system is “constitutional.” The Court’s ruling affirmed that the current system needs to be revamped, but the Court also said the system is meeting the “minimum requirements” of educating students. Minimum funding requirements are in direct contrast to the high standards Houston ISD and the state set for our students.
With the 84th Texas State Legislature set to convene on Jan. 13 at the State Capitol in Austin, school finance is at the top of HISD’s legislative agenda.
The district will carry a strong position on equitable state funding that will increase state dollars for academics for pre-K through 12th grade, particularly at-risk and bilingual students, in addition to improvements in college readiness for all students and funding for full day pre-K.
HISD’s Governmental Relations team will attend the 140-day regular session, in which lawmakers will budget how state money is spent over the next two years beginning in September. The Texas Comptroller’s office recently announced that the state has $113 billion in revenue available to spend in 2016 and 2017.
Click here to read a list of HISD’s legislative priorities.
The following statement is being issued in response to today’s announcement that the Texas Legislature has reached a budget agreement, which restores $3.4 billion of the previous $5.4 billion cut to public education and provides $530 million for the Teacher Retirement System.
“The Houston Independent School District commends the Texas Legislature for the significant restoration of public education funding this session. This increase, although positive, does not restore the $5.4 billion in education cuts that were made in 2011. We look forward to working with the Legislature and other leaders to address the obvious shortcomings in the current school finance system, which has been declared unconstitutional. For Texas to remain at the forefront of America’s economic recovery, we need a school finance system that recognizes the costs associated with helping all children achieve the high academic standards we have for them.”