Now that House Bill 3 has passed, many school districts are figuring out how the new law will affect them.
Coppell ISD held a workshop Monday night discussing the details of the bill and how it will tie into the district’s upcoming budget session.
HB 3 dedicated $6.5 billion to education and about $5.1 billion to alleviate the high property tax issue. While the bill is expected to provide some relief and boost funding, some of its aspects could put a burden on school districts.
“What we see is a lot of good funding for the programs that we need, however providing that property tax relief means that our district’s tax rate will continue to be compressed so that the district cannot earn more than 2.5 percent more revenue than the previous year,” said Diana Sircar, chief financial officer.
Sircar said the limit on the amount of revenue earned is going to make it difficult for the district to keep up with inflation and could also present some budget challenges for the future.
A plus is that CISD’s recapture, or money paid back to the state, will decrease by almost $22 million. Additional funding will be given for special education, and the district’s basic allotment will increase, but it depends on the number of students enrolled.
“Funding growth is really going to come from the basic allotment. As the basic allotment increases we’ll get more money, but while we’ll see some additional funds based on our enrollment growth, our enrollment is not growing like it was a few years ago,” Sircar said.
Sircar said based on the new law, the district’s revenue is going to decrease by almost $50 million, but there are decreases in expenditures that will offset that.
"The district’s really got to find a way to reduce and control the expenditures so that we can fund the programs that we’re required to fund … and we can continue to remain competitive,” Sircar said.
Sircar said the district is awaiting additional interpretation and clarification of all the calculations that feed into the budget, but the current budget under review is reflecting HB 3.
A more refined budget will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the next budget workshop.