2022 EDUCATION EDITION
RISING RECAPTURE BILLS
open enrollment program that will allow students living outside the dis- trict to enroll in select RRISD schools. “I expect to have some students coming back to Round Rock from out- side school districts,” Azaiez said. “I hope that once more parents know about [the open enrollment program] and it’s been more successful, maybe we can expand it, and we can see even more students actually enrolling in Round Rock from outside ISDs.” However, Killian and Azaiez both stressed the importance of action at the state level. Specically, they said an increase in the basic allotment—the amount of funding a district is allowed per stu- dent in average daily attendance—will be necessary for their respective dis- tricts’ nancial well-being. “We need legislative help,” Killian said. “School districts have asked multiple times for our Legislature to increase the basic allotment.” Will Holleman, senior director of government relations for education advocacy group Raise Your Hand
Texas, said if the basic allotment is not regularly increased, districts must rely more and more on local property taxes for funding. “The way that the basic allotment works, if you’re not raising that to keep up with ination or other types of costs that are coming to the district, essentially you’re reducing the over- all state aid to districts year on year,” Holleman said. The most recent basic allotment increase came in 2019, when House Bill 3 raised the basic allotment from $5,140 to $6,160. Azaiez said RRISD will continue to look for ways to leverage its existing resources while holding out for legis- lative action on the basic allotment for his district. “That’s the hope, but we’re not going to just sit and do nothing,” Azaiez said.
District recapture payments
Chapter 49 of the Texas Education Code, also known as recapture, requires districts over a certain threshold of property wealth per student to make payments to the state. When a district’s enrollment cannot keep up with property wealth, the district can quickly reach that threshold. Pugerville and Hutto ISDs are projected to enter recapture in the 2022-23 school year. Recapture is determined using a formula that includes the state’s basic allotment of funding per student:
Round Rock ISD 2021-22: $14.8 million 2022-23 projected: $72.5 million Pugerville ISD 2021-22: $0 2022-23 projected: $17.68 million Hutto ISD 2021-22: $0 2022-23 projected: $512,327 When District property tax revenue > Revenue cap:
Average daily attendance
Basic allotment ($6,160)
Revenue over cap goes to state
SOURCES: HUTTO ISD, PFLUGERVILLE ISD, ROUND ROCK ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
and the district will likely end the year short about $12.9 million. Killian said budget shortfalls have necessitated measures including per- sonnel reductions and delaying the opening of Hidden Lake Elementary School, which was initially sched- uled to open in time for the 2022-23 school year. Similarly, Azaiez said declines in enrollment in RRISD are causing issues that could continue to aect sta retention. “It made it hard for us to increase compensation—to continue retain- ing our great teachers and sta, but also, if we have vacancies, to recruit,” Azaiez said. Further, when a district raises more in property taxes than its average daily attendance allows for, its excess revenue goes to the state in a process known as recapture.
RRISD is in recapture—the district is projected to send $72.5 million to the state in the 2022-23 school year, up from a $14.8 million recapture bill in the 2021-22 school year. According to district budget materi- als, HISD also expects to enter recap- ture in 2022-23 with a projected bill of $512,327. PfISD is on track to enter recapture next school year as well, according to Chief Financial Ocer Jennifer Land, paying a projected $17.68 million in 2022-23. The way forward Enrollment levels in PfISD have already begun to increase, and projec- tions from RRISD show its enrollment back on the upswing in 2022-23 as well. This is due in part to recent action on the district level. For instance, in June, RRISD trustees approved a pilot
For more information, visit communityimpact.com .
ISSUES WITH AFFORDABILITY
Area district ocials maintain that stark increases in housing costs in the last two years have contributed to drops in student enrollment. The following data shows the median price of a home sold in June 2019 compared with June 2022:
$0 $125,000 $250,000 $375,000 $500,000 $625,000
SOURCE: AUSTIN BOARD OF REALTORSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
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ROUND ROCK EDITION • AUGUST 2022
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