HISD Budget Addresses Likely $79 Million State Funding Cut Without Tax Rate Increase
Houston ISD Superintendent Terry Grier on Monday presented a 2011-2012 budget plan that is $96 million less than the prior year and would maintain the current property tax rate.
HISD property owners enjoy the lowest tax rate of any school district in Harris County. HISD is also among the few school districts in Texas that grant homeowners an optional 20 percent homestead exemption in addition to the standard $15,000 exemption that homeowners across the state receive.
Dr. Grier presented the budget proposal to the Board of Education on Monday. The Board is expected to adopt the budget at its regular meeting on Thursday, June 23, 2011. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center (4400 West 18th Street).
HISD’s proposed 2011-2012 budget is built on the assumption that HISD will lose $79 million in state funding for the upcoming school year. That figure could change, however, because Texas lawmakers have yet to give final approval to a state school finance bill. In addition to the state funding cut, HISD is also anticipating increases in various fixed costs, such as gasoline, utilities, and employee health insurance premiums. Additionally, the one-time federal economic stimulus funds that HISD received last school year will not be replaced. When all of these factors are combined, HISD is facing a net decrease to the budget of $96 million.
HISD began identifying potential budget cuts 10 months ago in preparation for the reduction in state funding. Major spending reductions for the upcoming school year include:
· $58 million less in campus funding for teachers, librarians, supplies, and other campus-based salaries and programs
· $18 million less in central administration department funding
· $15 million less in special education maintenance of effort funding
· $7 million less in funding for small and/or unique schools that receive special subsidies
The property tax rate will not be set until after Harris County’s property tax roll has been certified, most likely in September or October.
The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States with 298 schools and more than 200,000 students. The 301-square-mile district is one of the largest employers in the Houston metropolitan area with nearly 30,000 employees. For more information, visit the HISD Web site at www.houstonisd.org.