Rate of Robin Hood funds rising

Public school funding is a hot topic in this legislative session, with about 200 bills related to the topic filed so far, according to Steven Bassett, Fort Bend ISD’s chief financial officer.

A point of contention for many districts is the state’s recapture, or Robin Hood, payments that redistribute property tax revenue from “property wealthy” districts to “property poor" districts. FBISD was considered property wealthy—also described as having Chapter 41 status—for the first time this school year.

“Chapter 41” refers to the section of Texas’ education code that outlines recapture. FBISD leaders have criticized Robin Hood because it takes local money out of school districts’ hands. The district is not currently paying recapture because it has a low enough maintenance and operations tax rate compared to its compression tax rate.

When recapture was created in 1993, 33 school districts were subject to wealth equalization and paid a total amount of $130 million, according to the Texas School Coalition, a group that represents districts with Chapter 41 status. In 2016-17, 379 school districts are considered property wealthy and are expected to send more than $2 billion in total to the state, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Property wealthy districts do not receive any money back from recapture payments. Here are what property wealthy school districts in the Greater Houston area paid in recapture for the 2015-16 school year and their enrollment for that year, according to the Texas Education Agency:

  • Angleton ISD: $0 (6,806 students)

  • Clear Creek: $0 (41,226 students)

  • Conroe ISD: $0 (58,239 students)

  • Cy-Fair ISD: $0 (113,936 students)

  • Friendswood ISD: $0 (6,133 students)

  • Fort Bend ISD: $0 (73,115 students)

  • Houston ISD: $0 (215,627 students)

  • Katy ISD: $0 (72,952 students)

  • La Porte ISD: $24.5 million (7,753 students)

  • Lamar Consolidated ISD: $0 (29,692 students)

  • Magnolia ISD: $0 (12,888 students)

  • Montgomery ISD: $0 (8,174 students)

  • Sheldon ISD: $1.8 million (8,477 students)

  • Spring Branch ISD: $28.5 million (35,301 students)

  • Stafford MSD: $0 (3,402 students)

  • Tomball ISD: $0 (14,120 students)