Houston Voters Say HISD Can Keep Subsidizing Poorer Districts

Houston Voters Say HISD Can Keep Subsidizing Poorer Districts

By a wide margin, voters in Houston on Saturday permitted the Houston Independent School District to keep sending money to Austin to subsidize poorer districts across Texas.

In a process called recapture, property-rich cities like Houston are mandated by law to send a portion of their property taxes to the state, commonly known as the Robin Hood plan.

Back in November, city voters rejected the same question, which would have diverted $162 million in property tax revenue away from HISD. The Texas Education Agency helped lower that obligation more than 50 percent, to $77.5 million — the figure approved by voters on Saturday, with around 84 percent voting yes.

Superintendent Richard Carranza criticized the recapture policy in his State of the School District address in February, noting that although Houston as a whole is wealthy, the district has many low-income students. But nonetheless, the school board vowed to make due with recapture in place.

“We want to thank our legislative delegation for supporting HISD and seeking changes to the funding formulas, and we want to thank the Texas Education Agency for significantly lowering our Recapture obligation this year,” HISD Board President Wanda Adams said in a statement. “The board will continue to work with lawmakers to fix the broken school finance system, which impacts districts across the state... We at HISD believe education is an investment, not an expense, and we hope the Legislature views it the same way.”

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