Scott Ball / Rivard Report
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.