How HISD Might be Facing a $57 Million Shortfall Next School Year

The Houston Independent School District might be facing a shortfall in public education funding of as much as $57 million in the next fiscal year starting July 1, 2010.

That less than happy news was delivered at this morning's school board agenda meeting, in a power point demonstration by HISD attorney David Thompson.

Thompson was there to give trustees an update on the fallout from the 81st state Legislative Session in 2009. One of the things the Legislature did was to substantially reduce each public school district's share of state money and replace it with federal stimulus money. In HISD's case, that meant a $57 million swap of federal for state money.

The state made the move to begin with to balance its budget, Thompson said. "They replaced it with money that was supposedly one-time money," he said, adding that no determination has been made as to whether that federal largesse will be repeated.

Which could mean, when the regular school year resumes next fall, the district might find itself seriously short of funds. How that would be resolved is anybody's guess. The Legislature isn't due to meet again until 2011.

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing