Ask HISD Questions
Do you have a question about the Houston Independent School District’s budgeting process? Ask HISD is the place to find information on budget planning, school funding, and other financial issues. To submit your budget question, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.How does commercial development affect school tax revenue?It will increase the tax base and generate additional tax revenue, but since HISD is subject to target revenue and receives “Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction” ASATR (hold harmless) the increase in tax revenue will be offset by a reduction to state funding.What’s the difference between a traditional school district and a decentralized district?Traditional school districts typically allocate the positions to campuses and provide them with funds for supplies etc. Typically all decisions are made at the central office level. Decentralized means that the funds are given to the campus and they decide how to spend the funds.How does the assessed value of homes affect school districts?Increasing or decreasing values impacts the amount of tax revenue the district receives. This can also impact the level of funding the district would receive from the State in relation to target revenue.What about lottery proceeds? How much of the state’s total education dollars do they make up?Lottery proceeds go into the State’s general fund to cover all programs in the state. Lottery funds are not specific to school funding. It is a very small portion of the overall State budget.Is there oversight of the district’s spending?The district is monitored internally by the finance division, externally by the Texas Education Agency, the Federal US Department of Education and local taxpayers.Can local funding be taken away by the state?Yes, if the district exceeds the equalized wealth level of $514,000 per Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) the district would be considered wealthy and subject to Chapter 41 of the Education Code. This chapter requires wealthy districts to send funds in excess of their target revenue amount to the state for redistribution to poor districts.Do seniors receive an exemption on their property taxes? How much is it?Yes, they receive an additional $15,000 and their values are frozen at the value when they turned 65.How does HISD’s tax rate compare to other Harris County school districts?It is the lowest in Harris County and one of the lowest of the 13 largest districts in Texas.How is my child’s school funding determined?Campus funding is based on the enrollment, average daily attendance and the demographic make-up of the students attending the school. Based on this information and the approved per unit allocation (PUA) determines the level of funding for each campus.My child’s school doesn’t have a full-time nurse, but another nearby school does. Why?Each campus principal, along with input from the shared decision making team, determines the needs and priorities of the campus. The allocated funds are then budgeted for the appropriate positions and programs. You principal may have determined that a full time nurse did not meet the level of need for the campus verses some other priority.Why can’t you just use bond money to fund the existing schools?Bond funds cannot be used of any purpose other than those approved by the votes in HISD. They are specifically to be used to renovate existing, or build new facilities and purchase other capital items approved in the bond measure.