Austin ISD officials met with members of Austin City Council and Travis County Commissioners Court to discuss the district's top priorities during the 88th legislative session at a joint subcommittee meeting Feb. 17.

The top two priorities mentioned by the AISD Chief Financial Officer Eduardo Ramos were increasing the basic student allotment and decreasing the district's recapture payment.

Regarding the basic student allotment, Ramos said AISD gets about $4,000 less than the national average, which is $6,160 per student.

“When you factor inflation into the equation, that number should be increased by 14.5%, or about $900,” he said. “The last time the state looked at it was in 2019 with House Bill 3, but it left funding flat. When you include inflation for year over year over the past eight years, education funding has actually decreased.”

As far as recapture goes, Ramos said while he believes in the system fundamentally, it is not a fair system for every district.

“Many districts throughout the state are now paying into the system,” he said. “When it began in 1994, there were only 34 districts paying in. Now, there are 160 districts, and some of those districts have had to close because they are facing recapture payments that they have never faced before.”

The fiscal year 2023 budget shows AISD is paying $887 million to the state for recapture, leaving AISD with less than half of its total budget to run the district—$806 million. Of that $806 million, 87% is dedicated to paying staff and teacher salaries, Ramos said.

“We are paying more in recapture than we are investing in our own kids in Austin ISD,” Council Member Alison Alter said. “This is a critical conversation to have, and we need to elevate this issue.”