Q&A: Why HISD has $200M budget shortfall

HOUSTON – Major revelations of looming budget cuts and sweeping changes to the magnet/school choice program are coming out of the Houston Independent School District's board of trustees retreat held Saturday at Carnegie Vanguard High School. 

Here's what you need to know: 

How much is being cut from the budget?

Officials say they'll need to cut about $200 million from the 2018-2019 budget. 

Fifty-six percent of the cuts could come from central administration, maintenance and operations and 44% from schools. 


In a report, HISD financial officials cited recapture payments, less state funding due to fewer students enrolling, possible lower property tax collections and questions about how much and when they'll be reimbursed for Harvey-related expenditures.

What are the changes to the magnet/school choice program?

The proposed overhaul includes creating a geographic quadrant system with each area having elementary, middle and high school feeders that feature the same magnet discipline.

Some schools would lose their magnet designation and funding, dropping the number of magnets from 115 to 85. 

When do the changes become official?

All of the proposed budget cuts and changes to the magnet/school choice program will have to be approved by the board of trustees. There will also be a series of public meetings before the vote, which could happen in March.

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