HCDE board reduces tax rate, remains below effective rate for third consecutive year

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September 20, 2017 by HCDE Communications

Sept. 20, 2017 – Supporting their commitment to keep property taxes low, the Harris County Department of Education Board of Trustees adopted a tax rate of $.005195, a decrease from the current tax rate of $.0052.

The unanimous vote marked the third consecutive year HCDE trustees adopted a rate below the effective tax rate, which is $.005236.

“Our sound business model and fiscally responsible approach has made it possible to reduce our tax rate while expanding the services we offer to school districts and Harris County residents,” said Board President Louis D. Evans III. “Every month we approve contracts to provide therapy services, school safety audits, and after-school programming not only because there’s a need, but because of the quality and consistency we deliver.”

The average residence in Harris County is valued at approximately $169,000. With the adopted rate of $.005195 per $100 assessed property value, the average homeowner will pay $8.77 annually. This generates $22 million of the overall HCDE budget, with the remainder funded by grants, fees, and revenues from HCDE’s purchasing cooperative.

The 2017-2018 budget includes funding for Harris County’s first public recovery high school, designed to provide a sober environment for students to continue their studies after completing a rehabilitation program.

Fortis Academy is the newest member of AROSC, a group of agencies in the Houston Recovery Initiative that provides substance abuse treatment, preventative care, after-care and recovery support for adolescents in the Houston area. The goal of the group, said HCDE Superintendent James Colbert, is to create a continuum of care for students and ensure there are no gaps at any point in the recovery process.

“The recovery community has embraced us from Day One, and I look forward to opening the doors of Fortis Academy in 2018,” Colbert said. “This is a life-changing program for teenagers who need and deserve our support, regardless of income and socioeconomic status.”

About Harris County Department of Education: HCDE provides special education, therapy services, early education, adult education and after-school programming. Services are funded by government grants, fees and a local property tax rate of $.005195. For every dollar in local property tax collected, HCDE provides $4.40 in services to the 25 Harris County school districts. HCDE also operates four campuses for students with profound special education needs and adjudicated youth who require a low student-teacher ratio and highly structured environment. One-hundred percent of students served on HCDE campuses are at-risk. The organization is governed by an elected board of seven trustees and has 1,060 employees and 33 facilities, including 15 Head Start centers. More info at www.hcde-texas.org

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