Harris County taxpayers have been unwittingly paying for the same service from different governmental entities for years. On top of paying taxes for their local school district, they’ve been funding $16 million in taxes to the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) for nothing more than a duplication of services already provided by other entities.

According to their website, HCDE “provides educational resources to school districts and the general public throughout Harris County and beyond.” These “educational resources” are not exclusively managed by the HCDE, as some 26 of the 43 services also fall under the operative jurisdiction of the Texas Regional Education Service Center (TRESC), headquartered only 10 miles away from the HCDE headquarters. Among those services include purchasing cooperatives, adult education, art staff development, central office administrators academy, bilingual staff development, digital learning, and educator certification.

One of the few services unique to the HCDE is its management of alternative schools in the Harris County school districts. But considering it only manages 7 of the 74 alternative schools in the area, it’s hard to fathom how the board’s administrative overhead is justified over the economies of scale that could be realized if Houston ISD ran them.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg of redundancy and fiscal irresponsibility. Over the next few days, we’ll be delving deeper into the massive waste in the HCDE system, showing why the only exclusive “service” it provides is its uncanny ability to syphon money from the taxpayers’ wallets.


Note: Information for this article was provided by Colleen Vera of TexasTrashTalk.com.