As Hutto ISD heads into budget season for the 2024-25 fiscal year, new projections show the district may pay about $270,000 more to the state in recapture than it did in the previous year.

What you need to know

The district held a budget workshop with its board of trustees April 11, in which some administrators shared expectations and projections for some aspects of its financial future.

In this workshop, Caleb Steed, HISD's Chief Financial Officer, shared that the district's anticipated payment to the state of excess property tax revenues is projected to increase from $570,000, anticipated to be paid for the 2023-24 fiscal year, to $850,000 for the 2024-25 fiscal year.

This is due to an increase in local property values, Steed said, paired with an unchanging amount of per-student funding from the state of Texas.

Additionally, Steed and other administrators forecasted that some budget cuts may be coming, although it is unclear where they will land.

The breakdown

Recapture, also known as Robin Hood, is a funding mechanism used by Texas to provide a similar amount of funding to schools across the state. Under this mechanism, school districts that are "property rich," meaning they have high property values and yield more property taxes above a threshold established by the state, send these excess local revenues back to the state each year.

Amounts to be paid into recapture each year vary, depending on factors such as enrollment, attendance rates and the basic allotment.

The latter is a set amount of per-student funding districts receive based on student enrollment. Steed said this amount has remained unchanged since 2019, when it was raised to $6,160 per pupil, despite the increases in cost of operations for school districts in that time.

What they're saying

"Insurance has gone up, groceries have gone up, utilities have gone up," Steed said. "Think about those things that continue to go up. If you were operating off of the same budget, you're going to have to make hard decisions in order to maintain the same lifestyle. That's where we are."

What's next?

HISD Superintendent Raúl Peña said administrators are working to identify efficiencies in the budget for FY 2024-25, but will avoid targeting positions or services that would have a negative impact on students. In May, he said administrators will propose a staff compensation plan that may include a general pay increase, with a final vote on the budget to occur in June.