Houston I.S.D. community votes for attendance credits

- Houston I.S.D. voters pass proposition 1, voting for sending HISD tax dollars to Austin and not allowing Houston commercial property to be removed from  the district's tax rolls.


From Greater Houston Partnership:

HOUSTON – Today, Houston voters authorized the HISD board to purchase $77.5 million in attendance credits to fulfill the district’s financial obligation under the state’s Robin Hood school finance law rather than see the district’s most valuable commercial property permanently removed from HISD’s tax rolls. With an overwhelming margin of 85%-15% in early voting, the campaign to support passage of HISD Prop. 1 appears headed for success.

“We are pleased that voters made the smart choice for all of our community,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “Keeping HISD’s tax base intact ensures that Houston businesses can continue to help fund Houston’s public schools and its future leaders,” said Harvey. “Now we turn our attention to advocating for wholesale changes to our state’s outdated school finance system.”

“The strong majority shows overwhelming support of the continued fiscal stability of HISD while meeting its obligations under the Texas Education Code. Although we won this fight and avoided an unprecedented and permanent detachment of commercial property value, we firmly believe that the Texas school finance equalization laws must be updated for the health and wellness of our education system,” said Bob Eury, President of Central Houston.

“The passage of Proposition 1 is a victory for HISD students, their teachers and parents, commercial property owners, retail businesses and residents,” added Eury.

“This vote ensures commercial property owners won’t face immediate tax increases and residents won’t face future tax hikes,” said Tammy Betancourt, CEO of Houston Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

“This vote averts the chaos that detachment would have unleashed on the local real estate market,” said Alan Hassenflu, Chairman of the Houston Realty Business Coalition.

“Keeping the buildings that are within HISD’s geographic boundaries on one tax roll will help foster continued economic development in our community,” added Mano DeAyala, President of the “C” Club.

Under Texas’ current school finance system, HISD is classified as a property-wealthy district even though more than 75 percent of its students come from low-income households. “For the sake of Texas’ future workforce, the state legislature must reform the school finance structure,” Harvey added. “We stand ready to build upon this campaign to construct a community-wide effort and lend our support to the legislature to build a school finance model that works for all of Texas,” Harvey concluded.

Greater Houston Partnership, Central Houston, the Houston Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), The “C” Club, the Houston Realty Business Coalition, and the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) are members of the coalition Houston Taxpayers for Quality Education. Welcome Wilson, Sr. serves as Treasurer of the coalition.

From  Texas Senator Paul Bettencourt
HOUSTON – Senator Bettencourt thanks the voters in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) for making the right choice and voting for HISD Proposition 1 today.  The vote effectively maintains the district’s tax base. This is a huge turnaround from the November 2016 election results that saw the same proposition get defeated by a 63-37% margin. With over half of the precincts reporting from the day vote HISD Proposition 1 is leading 84-16%, which is why Senator Bettencourt is confident that the measure will pass overwhelmingly.
“HISD Trustees Adams, Eastman, Lunceford, Skillern-Jones, and Flynn Vilascea should be credited with not only voting for the new HISD recapture election, but then actively supporting the proposition, along with the Houston business community and other elected officials, and educating the public on what is a complex issue,” said Senator Bettencourt.  “As someone who strongly advocated for voters to pass Proposition 1 in both the November 2016 and May 2017 election, I believe this is a win-win for HISD taxpayers.”
HISD now joins Galveston ISD as the only two school districts in the State of Texas that have ever reversed a public vote on school recapture credits.
“The result is a win-win for HISD taxpayers as it means HISD does not have to detach properties and increase their debt rate to service outstanding debt,” continued Senator Bettencourt. “Many local leaders and groups came together to stress the importance of voting for HISD Proposition 1, and their hard work is evidenced by the dramatic turnaround in the election results tonight.”
Community groups like Houston Taxpayers for Quality Education and the Harris County Republican Party, Chairman Paul Simpson, along with several elected officials, such as Senator Bettencourt, communicated with voters to inform them about the serious need for HISD Proposition 1 to pass.  The voters overwhelmingly supported the proposition. 
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