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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Harris County Department of Education
News Release
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Harris County Department of Education board says no to 2011 tax hike  
 Trustees cite need to support citizens during troubled economy 

Harris County Department of Education board of trustees voted against a tax hike for the 2011-2012 school year budget at its October 18 Board meeting, citing the need to support Harris County citizens living with a troubled economy.

The current tax rate charges the average homeowner about $6.25 yearly for HCDE taxes based on a $100,000 home valuation. 

“We respect the fact that citizens are hurting this year,” said HCDE board of trustees president Angie Chesnut.  “We will find the means to make this budget work for our students and for the Harris County school districts we serve on a daily basis.”

“In these challenging financial times which have put such a huge burden on schools, our services allow school districts to deliver student needs at lower costs,” said Chesnut.  “For example, school districts contract with HCDE for special education therapy services. HCDE hires a special education therapist who serves several districts. The districts don’t each have to hire a therapist to serve what may be only a few students. We call that leveraging dollars for the districts—and it saves local school districts money.”

In addition to special education therapy services, HCDE also operates special schools for children with severe disabilities and schools for adjudicated teenagers.  The department also provides adult education, after-school programs, Head Start programs and professional development for educators.  Other programs such as purchasing cooperatives and school safety services promote cost-savings and security within school districts. 

About HCDE: Harris County Department of Education provides education services to the general public and 26 school districts throughout Harris County. Services include adult education, programs to promote safe schools, after-school programs, therapy services, professional development for educators, special schools, alternative certification for principals and teachers, and Head Start programs.  It offers purchasing procurement, grant development, program research and evaluation, records management, and school finance support.  Since 1889, services continue to evolve to meet the needs of the education public. Visit  www.hcde-texas.org




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