The $8 Billion Building Collection That Could Get Plucked Out of HISD


A letter up on the website of the Texas Education Agency — addressed to the HISD Board of Trustees and dated to last Thursday — provides what the state organization says is a preliminary list of the high-value Houston properties that might be detached from the district and tacked onto Aldine ISD. The transfer is the proposed response to last fall’s election by HISD residents not to authorize that payment of over-the-per-student-cap property tax revenue to the state for redistribution to other districts. Campaigners had hoped the “no” vote on the resolution would cause the Legislature to look at reforming the state’s education funding scheme (which the state high court raised an eyebrow at last year, but left in place).

On the same day the letter was issued, the HISD board voted to call a new election on the recapture/detachment question; the TEA has also set a lower figure for the district’s initial required payment to the state, in light of the fact that HISD doesn’t collect some potential property tax revenue because of homestead exemption rules. The letter tallies up the marked-for-snagging properties at more than $8.024 billion in total assessment value, and includes the Galleria, the Williams Tower, a slew of downtown office buildings, the CityWestPlace complex near Beltway 8, and 2 refineries. The list itself mentions only addresses and parcel numbers, connected mostly to the buildings below and a number of their associated parking garages:



  • The Galleria (5051 Westheimer Rd. and surrounding block)
  • 4 Oaks Place (1300, 1330, 1360, 1400, 1500 Post Oak Blvd.)
  • The Williams Tower (2800 Post Oak Blvd.)


  • Hess Tower (1501 McKinney St.)
  • The former Enron towers and garages (1500 Louisiana St. and surrounding)
  • JP Morgan Chase Tower and Center (600 and 601 Travis St.)
  • One and (former) Two Shell Plaza (900 and 811 Louisiana St.)
  • BG Group Place (811 Main St.)
  • Enterprise Plaza (1100 Louisiana St.)
  • Bank of America Center (700 Louisiana St.)
  • Heritage Plaza (1111 Bagby St.)

East Houston:

  • The Valero refinery (9701 Manchester St.)
  • The Flint Hills Resources facility (9822 SH 225)

West Houston:

  • The CityWestPlace complex (2101, 2105, 2107 Citywest Blvd.)

Map of HISD: Texas Education Agency District Locator

Election Rerun

19 Comment

  • Oh, this is going to get good. Bravo to all parties around.

  • how much worse is this going to get when this voucher business gets pushed through and some of my tax dollars have to go to help buffy pay for kincaid?

  • HISD and Mayor Turner played their hand in the last election by trying to stare down the state and are set to lose big time. I’m surprised Turner of all people ( who spent years in Austin) underestimated Texas Republican’s penchant for taking away money from education, especially that of students in urban areas.
    How much money is the re-do election going to cost?

  • Let’s have a big round of applause for a great effort by HISD and Mayor Turner’s office. It’s not like anyone said this was exactly what would happen.

  • @Shady, what re-do election would be required in all of this? Why can’t things just proceed as they are now?
    Now we need a mass marketing campaign blasting every company associated with the above listed properties for failing to provide tax revenue to educate kids living in poverty in their very jurisdictions just to make this mess even better.
    As long as all this stupidity is wasting gobs of taxpayer money I’m happy. God bless you GOP, keep Texas dumb.

  • I have read $800K (minimum) for the May election. That’s a lot of pencils and poster board.

  • @Joel:
    “On the same day the letter was issued, the HISD board voted to call a new election on the recapture/detachment question..”

    It’s in the article above. HISD voted to hold a new election on the same quesrion this May, since the State called their bluff.

  • Obviously the board wants to send the state $ and stop the detachment. Just send the $ instead of holding an election. The system’s rigged anyway. They’re just going to do what they want regardless of the results. I only ask that they tweet about it so we know what’s really going on. I heard that a lot of the $ goes to free breakfast and lunches to illegals. I also heard that Bellaire and Lamar had to get rid of their Organic Chemistry AP classes and Dutch AP classes while Yates gets a brand new shiny school. Typical. It’s always the “needy” getting all the best stuff while the rest of us are left with the bill and are worse off. I don’t have time to really pay attention anyway.

  • @ShadyHeightster

    it isnt that they called their bluff. hisd got mostly what they wanted. the state recalculated how much money they will have to give. they are paying about half now. now that they got the discount they wanted, they are happy

  • Totally agree with you dnaguy, and by that I mean I totally agree with with only your last sentence.

  • While I understand the strategy the Mayor was proposing, which may have partially succeeded. But, it appears that the commercial property could still be detached from HISD taxation, depending on the May election. School tax and financing reform hasn’t happened and prospects for reform look dim. The value of the commercial properties will continue to increase, which means tax revenue would increase. I voted against letting the properties go and will continue to support that position.

    I’ve also heard that fact-checking and research can clear up unfounded rumors.

  • I don’t really understand this. Couldn’t this city get out of this by just lower the property tax rate?

  • Thanks Shady, see now the new election proposal for more financial waste.
    I dunno, I guess I’m really hoping there will be a lot more senseless financial destruction involved in this whole process. Like the city choking off (i.e. “falling into disrepair”) access to the TEA nominated properties to the point consumers stop spending / businesses start bailing, landowners start devaluing, TEA and property owners sue city, city says ha, we’re bankrupt with pension obligations and then TEA nominates new buildings and industrial sites to start the whole process over again.
    I still think this could be a lot of fun and should screw over far more people than just a bunch of kids growing up in poverty.

  • @joel, @DH, the City has nothing to do with this. The properties will still be taxed by the City of Houston, it’s HISD that will lose properties. The tax rate has nothing to do with recapture, it’s based strictly on taxable value per weighted average daily attendance. Raising or lowering taxes does not change the calculation.

  • A fundamental flaw in Texas’ school finance system is that it fails to recognize that school districts can be property rich, but have a high proportion of students living in poverty. HISD fits that bill. For this kind of District, an easy fix would be to allow them to keep their money but mandate that it be spent to improve performance at high poverty schools. I had hoped that HISD’s vote would kick off a long drawn out battle – like what we saw over the public housing rebuild in Galveston – and wind up getting this kind of reform. But it looks like that’s not going to happen.
    That being the case, what they should do is come up with their own list of properties to detatch. The list could be based on which properties have taxes in arriers and/or have had their valuations fought the hardest. Keep the properties that have been easier to collect on, and let Aldine ISD have the tough ones. A slick move – but no more slick than anything Austin has done on school finance.

  • “how much worse is this going to get when this voucher business gets pushed through and some of my tax dollars have to go to help buffy pay for kincaid?”
    or, put another way, how much of a better education could my kid get if I could use my tax dollars to send her to a better school instead of the crappy one she’s zoned to because that was the house we could afford?

  • @meh: So what is to stop Kinkaid or St. John’s from increasing tuition exactly the same amount as a voucher would be worth? And would you be OK with voucher $ going to a religious school? Because some of us still think that separation of church and state is a good thing.

  • By “my tax dollars” do you mean the tax dollars that your family has personally put into the system, or the tax dollars that your kid has been taking out of the system by his/her use of the public schools? Because if you mean the former, that opens another can of worms.

  • Once again the GOP aka GREEDY OLD PHARTS want to penalize the poorer students so the WHITE racist,bigoted, prejudiced d-bags republithugs can show they have some power. They’re all white neo-nazis anyway. Talk about f**ked up. Throwing money at the FAILED Aldine ISD is a social engineering experiment DOOMED to fail Why: because MOST students in AISD are NOT motivated to get good grades.