This is a tough subject to understand, but your voice and vote are important because the loss of millions of dollars for our Houston Public Schools is at stake. Let me explain this to you as I understand it:
Houston ISD owes the state money because we are considered property rich and property tax incomes have crossed a threshold that puts us into a status called “recapture” that takes this “excess” and gives it to poorer districts. This is based on a complicated calculation of property values that does not consider our urban and generally less-affluent student population across our public schools. This vote does not change the fact that Austin is coming at us for their money and they will get it.
The question right now is HOW we pay the state this money.
As it stands, we voted against “purchasing attendance credits” in November, which means we refused to “cut them a check” for the amount they are owed from our excess in property values. This means they are going to come and get it by detaching valuable properties and their tax revenue (properties that also serve as collateral in some of our other school financing and bonds). Once these properties are detached, WE NEVER GET THEM BACK. The revenue from these detached properties goes to another district (Aldine), which will likely tax them at a higher rate.
We have a second chance to undo this and simply write the state a check. The check is going to be considerably LESS than we thought in November because the amount is now being based upon TAXABLE values (ie. what we actually pay based on our homestead exemptions) vs appraised values. And, as school finance in Texas is eventually FINALLY reformed, we will still have those properties generating revenue for us into the future. Remember, once we lose them, we NEVER GET THEM BACK. Let’s make sure we don’t lose them now!
Please trust me and vote FOR “purchasing attendance credits,” the better option for us in the long run. Get out and vote May 6!
TMI? Or not enough? If you want to learn more, please join our District I trustee, Anna Eastman, at a community meeting about this on Monday, April 24 at 6p at Waltrip High School to learn more.