Are school districts being coerced into a role in economic developement?

As one of the largest single property tax bills a company may have to pay, school districts are being somewhat compelled to provide relief to certain companies and industries. However, to the detriment of their responsibility for student development a school district gains 3 primary inducements to play a role in economic development.

  1. Reimbursement from the state treasury for the abatement they allow
  2. Through Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS) the district is still able to get money from the company receiving the abatement
  3. The ability to underreport their property values within their district to the state to avoid court ordered recapture rules for poorer district

Schools are actively engaged in the area’s economic development possibly forsaking their only real responsibility, student development. Across the state of Texas are multiple Economic Development Councils, Chambers of Commerce of every form imaginable, County Commissions and City Halls. It is these entities whose primary if not single role is economic development. What justification is there for burdening school districts with this task?

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