HISD Prop 1 Voters to State: Come and Take It Or Maybe Do Something Else Instead

HISD PROP 1 VOTERS TO STATE: COME AND TAKE IT OR MAYBE DO SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD hattie-mae-white-centerWhile the Heights Dry Zone was dampened yesterday by a 63-to-36-percent moistening vote for City of Houston Prop. 1, HISD’s non-alcohol-related Prop. 1 was shot down yesterday by about the same margin (62-to-37-percent against). Laura Isensee writes that the measure was on the ballot this year because Houston’s rising property tax values have put it above a wealth threshold requiring it to share revenue into the state’s education funding system, “even if the majority of its students come from low-income households.” Crossing that threshold means the district was asked to send around $162 million this year to be distributed around; the ‘no’ vote however, denied the district permission to send the money the usual way (which no district has ever refused to do before). To get at the funds, the state could redraw the boundaries of HISD to move some higher-tax-value property into other nearby districts — or it could overhaul the education funding system during this year’s legislative session, as that Texas Supreme Court ruling in May strongly recommended (but did not order). Isensee writes that mayor Turner and others who campaigned against the proposition are hoping the vote will spur the Legislature to reform education funding in the upcoming session; lieutenant governor Dan Patrick has already said a special summer session could be called to tackle the issue, while governor Greg Abbott has already said that won’t be necessary. [Houston Public Media] Photo of HISD central office at 4400 West 18th St.: HISD

14 Comment

  • I think it will be super interesting to see what happens with HISD prop 1. They have said that they would probably be taking part of downtown, the med center, or part of the galleria.

    I wonder if those businesses having their tax rates go up will spur them to put a ton of pressure on their representatives to do something.

    Hisd is still out the money either way. It isn’t like property values are going down in it’s area. Each year they will have to pay more and more money.

    I wish the Texas supreme court ruled school finance was unconstitutional instead of it just being barely constitutional. It is really frustrating that issues like this have to be solve in such a way.

    Research shows that higher graduation rates and better rated schools increase property values. It should be in everyone’s interest to fund schools properly in Texas. We have the money for it!

  • the wording of the proposition was pretty shady. i think if they had worded it like “should HISD fulfill its obligations under state law?” it wouldnt have been such a landslide against. i mean if you disagree with the law then this seems like an odd way to protest it.

  • I wonder how many people voting no were misled by the ballot language, and didn’t understand that voting “no” doesn’t mean HISD gets to keep the money, but that the state would take it though other means?

  • Big push to Mayor Turner and HISD’s Joneses to vote “No”. Unwise to give up property that would still pay for bonds, and at a time we are at peak appraised values likely to fall with economy poised for recession if O&G prices tank again. Clueless local public officials. You don’t need to fool that may people to win a school issue vote that few understand.

  • The ballot language is required by state law

    Education Code Chapter 41

    Sec. 41.096. VOTER APPROVAL. (a) After first executing an agreement under this section, the board of trustees shall order and conduct an election, in the manner provided by Sections 13.003(d)-(g), to obtain voter approval of the agreement.

    (b) The ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: “Authorizing the board of trustees of ________ School District to purchase attendance credits from the state with local tax revenues.”

    (c) The proposition is approved if the proposition receives a favorable vote of a majority of the votes cast. If the proposition is approved, the agreement executed by the board is ratified, and the board has continuing authority to execute agreements under this subchapter on behalf of the district without further voter approval.

  • I still agree with the HISD push to vote NO. Force the state to make the repugnant decision of taking taxable property out of the hands of the poor and needy to get as much visibility on the case at hand.
    Again, if they’re going to take the money from the poor folks anyway then make them do it in the dirtiest possible way. Maximize visibility of this issue because Texans have been shooting themselves in the foot on this issue for way too long.

  • Maybe we voted against Prop 1 because we want the state to give some of HISD’s property to other districts.

  • Joel: HISD is property rich. The state takes from the rich districts (HISD) and gives to the poor school districts. It is a joke that recapture even requires a vote… it gives voters little more than the illusion of choice. The ballot language should simply read: “the State is going to take your school district’s money. How would you like to pay?”

  • I like to stay up on the ballot items but this HISD proposition was a complete surprise to me once I got to the voting booth.
    That being said, it was easy to vote “no” on it because I don’t really trust HISD’s financial prowess.

  • JB3 by voting No, it forces the the state to look at the issue and try to come up with a better idea other than recapture.

  • If it was a complete surprise to you how in the world did you determine that a “no” vote equates to a lack of trust in HISD’s “financial prowess”? Particularly since it has nothing to do with how HISD spends money?

  • It doesn’t force the state to do anything. Instead of payments from HISD, TEA now gets to pull taxes directly from the most valuable commercial property in the city. The Prop 1 opponents *hope* that the property owners will be upset enough about this to lobby the legislature to change the law, but there are absolutely no guarantees they’re going to do anything other than detach the tax district and move on their merry way.

  • It doesn’t force the state to do anything other than to permanently detach HISD’s most valuable properties from its tax base, which the TEA has proven they are willing to do time and time again. This vote was not a referendum on recapture, but our mayor and HISD were more than happy to mislead the voting public into thinking it was. I can only shake my head at the ignorance that is apparent in just this thread alone. Why vote for something you don’t understand?

  • Robin-hood is horrible policy and only in the public eye now because it is impacting Houston. It has been robbing small Texas communities for years. Many of those schools are ‘wealthy districts’, but have very high percentages of low-income students. Those schools are also the centers of those communities and are all they have. To make matters worse, many are boom and bust oil towns that need to use the peak years to build capital improvements to survive the bust.