Fitzgerald’s Last Hurrah; HISD’s $76 Million Deficit; Texas To Cash Part of Its New BP Oil Spill Check on Coastal Habitat Repairs

Photo of the sunset over Houston’s skyline: Marc Longoria via Swamplot Flickr Pool


14 Comment

  • HISD with a $76M budget deficit – ahahahhahaha. Why don’t we increase taxes. That should solve the problem. I wish our legislator would enable opting out of school taxes in exchange for only attending private schools. What a joke.

  • Shame about Fitzgerald’s. I heard it will be torn down for a parking garage. Houston!

  • Gonna miss Fitzgeralds. My girlfriend (now wife) crowd surfed to Push Monkey in the mid 90’s and my Dad went there when it was a Polish hall. Stevie Ray Vaughn played for a while there renting a house behind the place from Fitzgerald.
    God save Numbers!!!!

  • @Gary, Exactly why is it so funny that our state legislature has continually refused to tackle school finance reform year after year? Even the high school dropouts know that this should have been done a long time ago.
    “This fall, however, voters in several North Texas school districts, including Dallas, approved tax hikes for things like employee raises, prekindergarten and special education services.”
    This is what happens when government refuses to do its job and function in the service of taxpayers. Bless you GOP kleptocrats.

  • I am hopeful that the legislature can enact some public education financing reform in next year’s session, and apply some of the $5 billion it has in excess over the minimum balance in the rainy day fund. The current funding system takes tens of millions of dollars out of HISD, a school system in which 80% of the students are economically disadvantaged. Texas leaders brag about the State’s fiscal strength, but prove their governance is morally bankrupt.

  • HISD deficit: I think the interim superintendent’s paraphrased comment that “Our informal poll says that a tax hike vote would fail given the public’s view of us” has to be one of the brightest things to come out of HISD in about 20 years.
    It is truly sad that this nugget of common sense has to be applauded – but, when one speaks of HISD, common sense is very rare. With all of that tax money, you’d think they could buy it in spades.

  • La Joya ISD in the Rio Grande Valley bought a golf course and built a water park on part of the land with all the extra funds they piled up thanks to the Robin Hood school finance system. Then, TEA comes in and tells HISD they will take over the school district because out of about 200 schools, there are a few that are not performing well on standardized tests. So, HISD then dumps millions into test prep vendors and turnaround plans. Add to that constantly losing students to charter schools at parents fear closure of schools that are not performing on standardized tests.

    If HISD got to keep all the property tax money it gets, got off the district’s back about test scores and held charters to the same requirements as public schools, HISD would be flush with cash and have plenty of resources to help struggling schools. HISD’s board is full of some genuinely incompetent people and have generally been an embarrassment. But with the cards they are dealt from the State, it is not surprising that chaos has ensued on the board.

  • @Wolf – That is spot on. Why keep giving a failing organization more money. The appointees have some idiots in their ranks that are not qualified to drive the school buses, much less oversee at Billion dollar budget. They will utilize their positions to help elevate their political careers rather than make the situation better.

  • Yes, Joel – it’s definitely the GOP’s fault. For sure.

    The TEA needs to come in and clean house with these idiots running the asylum. The system’s been broke forever. Time to try something different.

  • The GOP focuses on other things like outlawing gay marriage and women’s reproductive rights.
    Have to remember Texas is loosing out on billions in tax revenue by outlawing marijuana as well. Jesus doesn’t like weed..
    God bless.. and it’s okay I drive drunk… Just no smoking weed!

  • @HIBTK – that’s a textbook definition of a strawman. Holy cow, you’re one-dimensional. Now I need a safe space.

  • RE: HISD, why should I pay more in taxes if it will be siphoned off and sent to other districts along the border??!! Tax reform is a MUST, and I think we missed our opportunity to force our hand when we voted to pay our ‘Robin Hood taxes” to the state. Meanwhile reference the La Joya multi-million dollar MF’ing water park next time you suggest raising my taxes. As a side note, in addition to paying nearly $20,000 every year directly to HISD, I am now forced to participate in some dumb ass Read-A-thon where I have to pay the school to have my child read a book (that I provided) during school hours in order to bridge the gap in funding. Funny, I remember the good ol’ days when my taxes included my kids reading during school hours. Now it’s extra.

  • My property taxes have increased 44% over the last 5 years. If HISD is facing a deficit, I find it hard to believe that a lack of revenue is the only cause.

  • SCHOOL REFORM, to be clear, a portion of the Book a Thon money goes to an outside fundraiser that promotes the idea. There’s also a walkathon or something similar in the spring. Promoter gets paid there, too.
    Honestly, I’m not even sure how much of the extra revenue HISD gets to keep from tax increases. What I have been impressed with is HISD’s ability to bridge a $200 million gap last year without a tax rate increase (yes, higher property values resulted in higher tax proceeds, but I don’t think the rate went up). I have no doubt that they will find a way to bridge the $76 million gap this year without raising the tax rate.