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HISD voters to see 'Robin Hood' school funding law on November ballot

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HOUSTON – The Houston Independent School District Thursday night called a special election to voters decide in November on whether to send tens of millions of dollars to the state of Texas.

In what is commonly referred to as the "Robin Hood" school funding law, Houston ISD is required to send tax dollars to the state. This year's bill is $165 million.

HISD trustees met Thursday, where they decided to add the item to the Nov. 8 ballot.

The school finance law classifies HISD as a "property wealthy" district because of rising property values, so it must send tens of millions of dollars in locally generated property taxes to the state. However, three-quarters of the district's students come from low-income households.

The district claims it cannot pay the money unless voters approve the payment.

If voters reject the measure, HISD said the Texas Education Commissioner could remove the most valuable commercial properties from HISD's property tax roll and place those properties in a different district.

The district also claims its budget for the upcoming school year includes $95 million in cuts to offset the loss.

At the meeting Thursday, trustees also agreed to call a special election to fill the unexpired term of District VII Trustee Harvin Moore, the longest-serving member who recently announced his resignation after 13 years.

Candidates have until Aug. 25 to file a position for the ballot. Forms can be filed at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center at 4400 West 18th Street in the Board Services Office.