After receiving an $8 million bill from the state for recaptured taxes last year, Comal ISD Superintendent Andrew Kim is championing school finance reform in the 86th Texas legislative session.
“We need to address both school finance and rising property taxes statewide,” Kim said. “Fortunately, homeowners in Comal ISD receive the benefit of an additional 20 percent homestead exemption offered by the district, which lowers their valuation and ultimately their tax bill.”
Recapture, also known as “Robin Hood,” redistributes tax dollars rom property-wealthy school districts to those that are considered property-poor.
“The problem is that the current system of recapture, or Robin Hood, penalizes growing districts like Comal ISD who are doing a good job at running efficiently while also achieving high academic progress,” Kim said. “We need a school finance system that supports what we are doing and allows us to keep our locally generated revenue to sustain our growth.”
State Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, filed House Bill 729 on Jan. 10 that aims to “stop excessive Robin Hood theft,” according to a news release from Biedermann’s office.
If passed, the bill will decrease the amount of recaptured taxes paid by Texas school districts by allowing them to keep—at minimum—the state average of funding per student.
“Most people are surprised that Robin Hood schools are often unfairly penalized and end up with less than the state average of funding per student after recapture. This inequity hurts many districts throughout the state,” the news release states.
The proposed bill is the result of discussions by a working group composed of representatives from Comal, Boerne and Fredericksburg ISDs.
“It is important to bring more equity and fairness to public school finance,” Biedermann said in a statement. “We must focus on solutions that keeps more local dollars in the district that they originate from, while also sharing with districts that have less taxable value. I’ve been working tirelessly with school districts in my community, and I’m proud to have so many of them supporting this legislation. Their ideas created this bill, and I want to congratulate them on their hard work.”