Education News

Facing $107 Million Shortfall, Houston School District Points To State Finance System

HISD is considered a property wealthy district, even though nearly 80 percent of students are from low-income families.

The Houston Independent School District has started to prepare its budget for next year. But it already faces a shortfall and is blaming the state’s school finance system.

That’s because in Texas, school districts that have a lot of wealthy property have to send tax dollars back to the state. That money is then shared with property-poor school districts. It’s a process known as Robin Hood.

Now it’s poised to put HISD in the red for the 2016-17 school year — to the tune of $107 million, according to its chief financial officer.

HISD is considered a property wealthy district, even though nearly 80 percent of students are from low-income families.

Deputy Superintendent and CFO Ken Huewitt told board members last week that HISD’s payment to the state could force budget cuts at both the district and campus level. Those administrators are supposed to review their budgets and find areas to trim.

Some items already on the chopping block include the teacher bonus program, known as ASPIRE. That would save $10 million for next school year.


Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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