The recapture policy, nicknamed the “Robin Hood” plan, is part of Texas’s school finance system—and has been debated since the 1970s. Ideally, the state recaptures funding from districts with high property wealth, to redistribute it to districts with low property wealth. Because Texas schools are funded by local property taxes, there would be a huge discrepancy without recapture: Property-wealthy districts could set a much lower tax rate than property-poor districts and still collect 20 percent more revenue.
The Texas Supreme Court deemed that unconstitutional in the 1989 Edgewood ISD vs. Kirby case, leading to the recapture policy.
Fast-growing districts are squeezed worse than others. Although Montgomery ISD owes $4 million to the state, the district should have as much money per student as any other school district when all is said and done—however, much of that went toward costs for opening two new campuses this year.