As local school districts prepare to develop 2023-24 budgets and state lawmakers convene in the 88th Texas Legislature to make their own budget decisions, Cy-Fair ISD Chief Financial Officer Karen Smith briefed school board members Feb. 9 on public education funding issues.

“There are challenges, as you know, on how school districts are funded in Texas, and there needs to be more of a balance between the state requirements and mandates with the funding that is provided to school districts,” Smith said.

Public school districts in Texas are funded by local property taxes paid by homeowners and businesses in addition to funding from state and federal revenues. Property taxes currently make up the majority of revenue CFISD receives, according to the district.

CFISD expects about 56.89% of 2022-23 revenue to come from local property taxes and 40.73% from the state. The state's share has been decreasing due to CFISD’s increasing property values, decreased attendance and inflation, Community Impact previously reported.

State funding for public schools is primarily based on student attendance rather than student enrollment. Therefore, student attendance is important not only to increase student learning opportunities, but to increase the district's state funding each year, CFISD officials said.

Although CFISD trustees approved the district's lowest tax rate in 33 years for 2022-23, the district has no further control over the state funding aspects that are decreasing the amount of revenue the state can provide, according to Smith.

CFISD is advocating for more state funding from the Texas Legislature this session, and officials have laid out several potential solutions in the district’s priorities for the 88th state legislative session.

Some of these options include increasing the basic allotment of $6,160 per student, adding an inflationary index to the basic allotment each biennium and incentivizing school districts to provide property tax relief with the local optional homestead exemption, according to the district’s legislative priorities.