HISD could face deficit of $280 million if changes not made before the 2025 school year, report says

Chaz Miller Image
Saturday, March 25, 2023
HISD in midst of massive budget cut prior to takeover by TEA
A presentation from the Houston Independent School District indicates the district could face a deficit in excess of $280 million.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A presentation from the Houston Independent School District indicates the district could face a deficit over $280 million should they not make changes before the 2025 fiscal year.

They're currently preparing the 2024 budget, which is being planned before the Texas Education Agency takes HISD over on June 1.

Becca Carballo covers the district for ABC13's partners at the Houston Chronicle and said the current proposal aims to cut about $62 million in spending from last year to the upcoming year.

"They need to start chipping away at (the deficit)," she explained.

RELATED: Houston ISD faces $60M deficit as enrollment declines by 20,000

In a presentation from March 23, HISD has a list of proposals to make that reduction possible.

The largest cut would be no longer spending the $29 million the district gave to schools last year as the result of a pandemic-era program known as the "average daily attendance hold harmless provision."

That provision locked in attendance numbers at pre-pandemic levels, which required the district to send more money to schools based on larger attendance numbers than currently existing ones.

Other proposed cuts include half the amount spent on every high school student in the district, from $170 last year to $85 this year.

They also hope to eliminate $5 million in funds known as small-school subsidies, which they give to schools with lower enrollment numbers.

The other big cut would come from restructuring the school's central office, which the district says would come with $15 million in savings.

"These are administrative roles," said Carballo. "They're cutting here because they're trying to keep cuts away from campuses and student impact."

SEE ALSO: 'Ultimately, this intervention is necessary': State announces official TEA takeover of Houston ISD

The current administration is proposing these cuts, but they will be voted for on June 8.

That means the Texas Education Agency will have taken over HISD when the new budget is voted on and implemented.

While it's unknown how the controversial decision to take over the state's largest district will ultimately impact the budget, Carballo said the actions that led up to that move have made the district hesitant to introduce any bonds to voters to help ease the budget shortfall.

"This loss in confidence (from voters) has been an issue for years, probably starting in 2017 when HISD was first put on notice that the district could be taken over," she said, adding that previous referendum proposals haven't been set on the ballot by the district due to previous scandals and controversies.

2022 REPORT: HISD approves $2.2 billion school budget, including promise to bump teacher pay

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