Ask the editor: What are school district recapture payments and how do they work?


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.

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Jules Rogers
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Jules Rogers has been covering community journalism and urban trade news since 2014. She moved to Houston in June 2018 to become an editor with Community Impact Newspaper after four years of reporting for various newspapers affiliated with the Portland Tribune in Oregon, including two years at the Portland Business Tribune. Before that, Jules spent time reporting for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in Southern Oregon. Her favorite beats to cover are business, economic development and urban planning.
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