HISD Struggles to Overcome Budget Shortfall

Even though the Texas economy is strong, school districts like Houston are still struggling with education cuts made by the state two years ago. So as the Houston Independent School District heads into budget season, a tax increase could be an option.

The Houston school district faces a $72 million dollar shortfall for next school year. District administrators say the deficit is leftover from previous cuts to education from the state. Sharon Eaves with HISD says the board has three main options to fix the budget.

"If we did not increase taxes, we would have to cut funding to our schools."

The second option is to raise property taxes. Then there's the third. 

"A combination of the two, reduction to funding and increasing funding through taxes."

Eaves says if the HISD decides to just cut spending, it would cost $328 dollars per student.

"But if we do a tax increase and a funding reduction, it would be $53 dollars for a five-cent increase. And if we did a six-cent increase in taxes then we wouldn't have to impact school funding at all."

That six-cent tax increase would cost the average homeowner an extra $89 dollars a year. The HISD board of trustees has to finalize the budget in June. But they have to give financial guidelines to schools earlier in March.

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...