The Humble ISD Board of Trustees authorized the disbursement of nearly $5 million in property tax refunds to district taxpayers to begin in September at the Aug. 14 board meeting.

Earlier in the year, the board had unanimously approved an order authorizing the reappraisal of property tax values for 2017 in support of taxpayers impacted by the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey. As a result of that action, checks will go out this fall to taxpayers whose reappraised property values have resulted in an overpayment of taxes.

“This was the right thing to do once the district had received information from the appraisal district and navigated Harvey’s financial impact,” School Board President Charles Cunningham said. “Harvey affected our schools, families and businesses, and everyone worked together in recovery.”

About 5 percent of 80,000 properties in Humble ISD were impacted by flooding, according to the appraisal district, and were reappraised for damages. The Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) reappraised 4,073 accounts in Humble ISD through the summer. There is no action taxpayers will need to take to claim a refund. Checks will be mailed automatically from September through December as information comes in from HCAD’s records.

The reappraisal applies to taxes calculated from Aug. 23, 2017, the date the governor declared Harris County a disaster area, through Dec. 31, 2017. The amount of refund for a homeowner varies by property value and extent of loss. Those with tax ceilings already in effect (disabled or taxpayers over 65) may not receive a refund if their tax ceiling is already lower than the Harvey reappraisal

Humble ISD paid $122,190 to conduct the reappraisal. The district expects to issue a total of $4 to $5 million in tax refunds. State and local leaders have assured school districts that state funds will be made available to reimburse them. Taxpayers with questions may call the Humble ISD Tax Office at 281-641-8190.

In other business, the board approved two projects to buy land and build facilities in Montgomery County on Ford Road in Porter.

Finance Committee Chairman Robert Sitton said, “These two projects were a part of the recommendations of the Citizens Bond Committee. We are going to be voting on the Ag barn property and we are going to be voting on the new transportation property on the north side.”

The shared agriculture barn for Kingwood and Kingwood Park high schools, located just south of Deer Ridge Park in Kingwood, was severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey. This was not the first time it has flooded and the district has been searching for a place to relocate the facility at a location in close proximity to the two high schools. An available 6.9 acre property in Porter meets the requirements and the board authorized the purchase to proceed.

The additional transportation facility is needed to accommodate growth within the district and achieve logistics efficiencies that are now not possible due to the size and geography of the district. The new facility will be located on 11.6 acres. The existing Transportation Center on Wilson Road is just South of Will Clayton Parkway. Locating a second facility on the north side of the San Jacinto River will result in cost-saving benefits while freeing up the existing facility to accommodate the growing transportation requirements in the southern part of the district. In addition, locating the second Transportation Center in the northern part of the district will allow fleet access to campuses north and south of the river in the event of a major flood emergency.

In addition to its general business, the board announced two statewide recognitions recently earned in the district. Laura Clarke was honored as one of only 15 recipients of the Heroes for Children Award.

Jerri Monbarron, director of the Office of Community Development, presented her with a plaque of recognition from the board and said, “The State Board of Education has selected one of our own volunteers as a recipient of the 2018 Heroes for Children Award for District 8.”

Monbarron said Clarke will be honored at a ceremony in Austin in September. Clarke was selected based on 18 years of voluntary service that included a wide variety of volunteer support projects ranging from coordinating a fundraising effort to save a Project Graduation from not occurring to coordinating more than 815 free vaccinations for low-income families.

Quest High School was also honored.

“Today we are very proud of a call we got from the TEA [Texas Board of Education]. As of the 2017-18 school year, there were 198 early-college high schools in Texas. Quest High School was one of four high schools in the State of Texas designated by the TEA as a Distinguished Early College High School,” said Assistant Superintendent of High Schools Trey Kraemer.

School board meetings are normally held at 7 p.m., the second Tuesday of each month at the Humble ISD Administration Building, 20200 Eastway Village Dr., and are open to the public. Agendas are posted on the district website, humbleisd.net.

Bruce Olson
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I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.