Stories to watch in 2019 #9: School finance to be a top legislative issue in Texas as CISD funding slows


This story is part of our Annual Community Guide, which takes a look at some of the biggest stories to watch in The Woodlands and South Montgomery County in 2019. Stay tuned throughout the week as we countdown to the No. 1 story to watch this year.

What we reported A commission on school finance reform was created by House Bill 21 in the 85th Texas Legislature after lawmakers set out to fix the school finance system but could not agree on a solution. After a series of meetings throughout the year, the commission delivered a report to the Legislature at the end of 2018 with recommendations for how the school finance system could be improved. In past budget cycles, Conroe ISD has attributed losses in state funding to the “Robin Hood” plan, which uses recaptured revenue from wealthy districts to fund less-wealthy districts. State funding accounted for 40 percent of CISD’s budget in 2009, while funding dropped to 26 percent in 2018.   

The latest If no change to the funding system is made, state funds will account for less than a third of school revenue by 2023, according to the commission’s final report approved Dec. 19. The report’s recommendations to address public school finance include three options for the Legislature to consider to slow property tax growth in 2019, including a 2.5 percent cap on annual property tax revenue growth originally suggested by Gov. Greg Abbott. The commission’s two other recommendations deal specifically with using money from projected recapture growth to reduce tax rates. The Legislature convened
Jan. 8, and lawmakers are expected to discuss the item again before the regular session ends May 27.

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