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NCISD Joins with Other Texas Districts Regarding School Finance

New Caney ISD and other Texas districts collaborated on a letter to the Texas legislative Conference Committee deliberating House Bill 3. The letter addresses the Senate’s proposal to calculate school funding using property values from the current year, rather than the existing practice of using prior year values. This collaboration is an extension of the work that Texas districts have put forth in order to provide information and input to legislators regarding school finance reform. Trustees and administrators have worked with peer districts, the business community, voters and legislators to maintain an inclusive and productive conversation surrounding public education funding.

The House version of HB 3, dubbed “The Texas Plan for Transformational School Finance Reform,” was a big step in the right direction. However, districts across Texas are saying that the Senate’s proposal to use current-year values is not at all transformational and, in fact, would be devastating to school districts. The letter states:

“This change is not simply resetting a fiscal calendar. The reality is it becomes another mechanism for the state to collect local revenue. Shifting from prior-year to current-year values would substantially diminish, or in many cases, virtually eliminate any benefit that our school districts would otherwise receive from positive changes in the new formulas. In most cases it would cause significantly more harm than the current funding system.  It is not a one-year adjustment.  Moving to current-year values would cause local property tax growth to benefit the state instead of the local school district.”

The letter goes on to say that, ultimately, using current-year values creates an additional Robin Hood system that affects even more districts than those currently subject to recapture. Any school district that experiences property value growth will now be subject to another system of recapture that benefits the state’s budget. Additionally, using current-year values makes budgeting at both the district and state levels much more imprecise. Districts will be preparing budgets and spending funds before the State Comptroller’s Office has reviewed, audited and certified values to both school districts and the Texas Education Agency. Certified values are essential for accurately calculating a school district’s revenue.

The districts concluded their joint letter by reminding conferees of their common goal. “The goal of this session has been to solve many of the issues plaguing our school finance system and not create new burdens,” the letter stated. “Please ensure that the final version of HB 3 retains prior-year values.”

Signees of the letter to the Conference Committee include 58 school districts and 4 organizations:

Alamo Heights ISD
Aldine ISD
Aledo ISD
Alief ISD
Alvin ISD
Arlington ISD
Austin ISD
Barbershill ISD
Bastrop ISD
Birdville ISD
Boerne ISD
Brock ISD
Cleveland ISD
College Station ISD
Coppell ISD
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD
Dallas ISD
Denton ISD
Dickinson ISD
Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD
Eanes ISD
Ector County ISD
El Paso ISD
Fast Growth School Coalition
Friendswood ISD
Frisco ISD
Galveston ISD
Garner ISD
Goose Creek CISD
Grapevine Colleyville ISD
Gregory Portland ISD
Highland Park ISD
Hutto ISD
Jarrell ISD
Katy ISD
Klein ISD
Lake Travis ISD
Lewisville ISD
Liberty Hill ISD
Lockhart ISD
Lovejoy ISD
Lubbock-Cooper ISD
McKinney ISD
Miami ISD
Midland ISD
New Caney ISD
Peaster ISD
Plano ISD
Port Aransas ISD
Prosper ISD
Richardson ISD
Rockwall ISD
Round Rock ISD
Royse City ISD
San Antonio ISD
Spring Branch ISD
Sunnyvale ISD
Texas Association of School Administrators
Templeton Demographics
Tyler ISD
Texas School Coalition