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Legislative Session Board Message

October 6, 2023


HPISD Parents and Community,


In advance of the upcoming special session of the Texas Legislature, we want you to know that we are strongly advocating for Highland Park ISD. In the regular legislative session last spring, our lawmakers had access to a record $32 billion in excess revenue but did not provide any meaningful increase in per-student funding for public schools. Our priority is to ensure that public schools like HPISD receive the necessary resources to meet the needs of our students and competitively compensate our valued teachers and staff.


HPISD has limited local control over how much of our tax revenue can be spent on our students. The basic allotment per student is set by the Legislature, and any additional tax revenue is recaptured for other districts in what’s commonly known as “Robin Hood.” The state has not increased the basic allotment per student since 2019 despite inflation of around 17%. Simply adjusting for inflation would require a minimum of as much as $1,000 in increased funding per student. Texas already ranks in the bottom 10 nationally for per-student funding. We will only fall further behind if our state government does not take significant action to put more dollars into public schools, and an increasing burden will fall on the shoulders of our friends and neighbors who already go above and beyond to support our schools through private donations.


Governor Abbott has stated that one of the priorities for the upcoming special session is to expand school choice through education savings accounts funded by public tax dollars, which is commonly referred to as a voucher system. We are imploring the Legislature to first properly fund public schools before giving any consideration to allocating public tax dollars to the funding of private schools. There is a limited amount of money available to the state government and much of it comes from local property tax recapture from districts like ours. To send some of it to private schools before fully funding public schools would be a great disservice to all those who will continue to rely on public schools in our state.


Finally, we are also advocating with the Legislature for an early pay discount on recapture, similar to that given to corporate taxpayers. HPISD currently sends about two-thirds of its local tax revenue to the state in recapture. An early payment discount would reduce that impact and leave us more dollars to ensure staff is compensated competitively. We will continue to press for relief, accountability, and transparency related to recapture dollars.


Take action to support HPISD schools:


To ensure our voice is heard in Austin, HPISD trustees have engaged in constructive dialogue with both Rep. Morgan Meyer and Sen. Tan Parker this week. However, the importance of appropriately funding our schools cannot be overstated and we encourage each of you to share your support of Highland Park ISD with our elected officials, as well.


Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Mailing address: 

Office of the Governor 

P.O. Box 12428

Austin, Texas 78711-2428


Capitol number: (512) 463-2000



Texas State Senator Tan Parker 

Mailing address: 

P.O. Box 12068 

Capitol Station

Austin, TX 78711


Capitol number: (512) 463-0112 

District number: (214) 361-3561

Email: [email protected] 


Texas State Representative Morgan Meyer

Mailing address: 

Room GN.12

P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768


Capitol number: (512) 463-0367

District number: (214) 239-1257

Email: [email protected]  


In Highland Park ISD, we believe the spirit of a people is disclosed by the education of its youth. We remain hopeful this belief will resonate across our state in the coming days and weeks.




Maryjane Bonfield, President

Bryce Benson, Vice President

Jae Ellis, Secretary

Doug Woodward, Finance Officer

Pete Flowers, Trustee

Blythe Koch, Trustee

Ellen Lee, Trustee