Initial Estimates Reveal How House Bill 3 Could Change School Finance in SA

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Alamo Heights Junior School.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

If House Bill 3 passes in its current form, Alamo Heights ISD would go from paying $42.2 million back to the state in fiscal year 2020 to paying $34.7 million.

Initial estimates from the Legislative Budget Board shed light on how local districts’ finances would be impacted if the leading school finance legislation in the House passes in its current form. Taxpayers in all of San Antonio’s districts would see a lowered property tax rate if the bill passes in its current form, according to the projections.

This Wednesday, House members are expected to vote on House Bill 3, legislation that seeks to overhaul the state’s school finance system. It would inject about $9 billion into school finance, with $2.7 billion going to reduce property taxes.

It would tweak the school finance funding scheme in a variety of ways, including boosting the basic allotment for every student by $890, providing funding for full-day prekindergarten for qualifying students, and increasing the minimum teacher salary schedule.

Estimates released Monday show San Antonio residents would see property tax relief in fiscal year 2020, with all maintenance and operation (M&O) property tax rates decreasing by at least 4 cents.

The M&O property tax supports everyday district operations and maintenance. The total property tax rate assessed by school district also includes interest and sinking, which supports debt that finances a district’s facilities.

Residents in districts with M&O rates set at $1.17, including Southside, Somerset, San Antonio, Edgewood, and Harlandale ISDs, would have their M&O property tax rates lowered to $1.09 per $100 of property valuation.

School districts that pay recapture, or districts that have a high property value per student and are required to send money back to the state, would see their recapture payments reduced.

In fiscal year 2020, Alamo Heights ISD would go from paying $42.2 million back to the state to paying $34.7 million. Comal and North East ISDs would no longer have to pay recapture payments under House Bill 3 in fiscal year 2020.

In fiscal year 2021, Comal ISD would go from paying an estimated $12.8 million to paying nothing, and North East ISD would go from paying an estimated $27.8 million to paying nothing in recapture payments.

Revenue per student is projected to increase in each district. Edgewood, Somerset, and Southwest ISDs would fare the best, with each district seeing a potential increase of more than $1,000 per student in fiscal year 2020.

South San Antonio ISD’s increase would rise to more than $1,100 per student in fiscal year 2021 from $976 in fiscal year 2020.

Boerne, Comal, and Southside ISDs would see the smallest increases, at less than a projected $500 per student in fiscal year 2020.

All of the estimates released by the Legislative Budget Board are preliminary in nature and don’t address weights. They are subject to change based on actual student counts, property values, and tax effort. The estimates don’t include any money from a few special funds.

If the bill passes the House, it would still have to make it through the Senate with no changes for these numbers to remain as they are. At the end of the day on Monday, House members had filed more than 90 proposed amendments, which could also alter the figures.

Here is a full list of the estimates for fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021.

8 thoughts on “Initial Estimates Reveal How House Bill 3 Could Change School Finance in SA

  1. This bill needs to not be about property taxes. The problem with our high property taxes didn’t have to do with the tax rate the school districts were taxing us at. The problem with high property taxes came from the county tax assessors over appraising our home values. The legislature needs to make a law that limits how much county tax assessors can raise home values in any given year and over a larger amount of time as well.

  2. The legislature needs to be up front with what raising the minimum teacher salary schedule, which as of this school year is $28,080 for teachers with zero years of experience. Many districts in the Bexar County metro area pay almost double for teachers with zero years of experience. So raising the minimum salary schedule would not affect the salaries of any teachers in the area. In fact, the only districts that pay the minimum are in rural areas that have extremely low costs of living. So this part of the bill is a way for politicians to say they support teachers without having to shell out any actual money because they rightfully assume most residents of the state will take that to mean all teachers received a pay raise.

  3. The problem is two fold. Skyrocketing school taxes and increasing property values. It’s crazy that 50% of my taxes go to the school district. I have 7 taxing entities on my yearly tax bill. .91% goes to Bexar County Roads & Flood, .71% goes to San Antonio River Authority. 5.79% goes to the Alamo Community College. 10.72% goes to the University Health System. 10.76% goes to Bexar County. 21.66% goes to the City of San Antonio, and a whopping 49.46% goes to the school district!!!! So for all the complaints about city property taxes, I’m only paying about $0.59 per $100 valuation to the city, while I’m paying $1.38 per $100 valuation for school taxes. We need to stop building mega-high schools that rival any college campus, AND stop hiding rate increases behind increasing property values!!!!

    • Frank, I’m looking at my property tax bill from a decade ago and those percents you just gave are pretty much the same as back then, with just under 50% going to my local school district back then as it does now. And “mega-high schools” are actually saving your local district money. If they didn’t build mega then they would build two high schools in its place. So instead of having to pay to build 2 gyms (boys gym & girls gym) for 3000 students to share, you’d pay for 4 gyms to be built (2 gyms for 1500 students at one new school and 2 gyms for the other 1500 students at another new school). Now do that doubling for the band hall, orchestra room, choir room, auditorium, cafeteria, library, athletic practice fields (football, baseball, softball, soccer) and tennis courts. Doubling to serve the same number of students, which doubles the building cost for those areas.

  4. Bexar County increased the assessed value on my home by $52,000 from 2018 to 2019. The Legislature is debating peanuts and pennies while congratulating themselves on providing “property tax relief.” The Trump “tax cuts” limit my itemized deductions on state property taxes among other things so not only do I keep getting hit with property tax increases but I also lost my ability to deduct them fully from federal tax bill. This bizarre school financing system helps no one.

    • It could possibly help the schools out but it will not help property owners. I calculated that this Bills “property tax relief” would save me $8/month. I guess anything helps and anything is better than nothing but $8 isn’t significant enough to give anyone relief and isn’t worth congratulating a elected official over.

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