How much Texas school districts will receive after school finance reform


HOUSTON – Texas school districts will be seeing more money per pupil next year thanks to legislation passed in the waning hours of the session. The bill heads to Gov. Greg Abbott who is expected to sign it.

What does passage the of House Bill 3 mean for schools, and what does it mean to your tax bill if you're a property owner? Both will see changes in 2020 and 2021 according to figures we obtained from the Texas Legislative Budget Board.


Under HB 3, taxes for school maintenance and operations in the Houston Independent School District will tick down 7 cents per $100 of assessed value in 2020 and 2021. 

At the same time, schools will see more money per pupil, but just how much varies by district. For instance, Katy ISD will see a per-pupil increase over current spending of $306 in 2020 and $462 in 2021. Houston ISD will see an increase over current spending of $521 in 2020 and $667 in 2021.

Some school districts like HISD, Spring Branch ISD and Galveston ISD that have long complained about having some of the tax dollars they collect diverted to other districts will get a break. 

Back in 1993, the legislature enacted the recapture requirement or so-called "Robin Hood law."  It required districts with higher property values inside their boundaries to give some of the money they collected to poorer districts. 

HB 3 changes the recapture rates.  Next year, HISD's recapture rate will roll back by over $308 million.

We created a pair of charts to let you see how the school finance reforms impact your wallet at many area school districts. Scroll below to see them.

HISD tells Channel 2 Investigates its board is planning workshops to go over the new school spending plan before it finalizes its budget for the next school year. 

The district's press office said, "Houston ISD is grateful to the 86th Texas Legislature for passing school finance reform this session. House Bill 3 increases the state's share from 38% to 45%, reduces recapture by $3.6 billion statewide, and provides funds for full-day Pre-K. According to recent analysis from state agencies, HB 3 lowers HISD's recapture payment significantly and provides additional funds per ADA or Average Daily Attendance for the next two years. The District is analyzing House Bill 3's short and long-term impact and will be prepared to share additional updates with the public as they become available."

Sen. Paul Bettencourt also sent KPRC2 a statement:

"This is a generational change in property tax relief and public school finance. Recapture will be cut significantly at $5.4 billion. For example, HISDs recapture obligation will go from roughly $300 million to $0.

"In 2020 the average rate cut will be 7 pennies with additional cuts in 2021, plus the 2.5% kicks in from SB2 in 2021.

"The average basic allotment is also increased to $6,188 per student. 

"Combine this with Senate Bill 2, that I authored, this is the biggest change in property taxes in Texas in 38 years."

Below are two maps featuring a list of Houston-area school districts and how they are affected.

The first map is for 2020:

The second map is for 2021: