The Texas School Coalition (TXSC) submitted written testimony to a Joint Interim Committee that the Robin Hood system is expected to require districts to contribute more than $1 billion for the tenth year in a row, as the number of Robin Hood districts reaches a record high number.
High Robin Hood growth was attributed to the fact that the threshold for determining whether school districts are deemed property wealthy has dropped from the 90th to the 64th percentile of property wealth when comparing the start of the recapture system to today. The analysis, which also shows that recapture affected one percent of students in 1994 when compared to 34 percent today, was submitted to the Joint Interim Legislative Committee to Study the Public School Finance System by TXSC Executive Director, Christy Rome.
“The State has lowered the standard of wealth, and rather than bringing districts up and investing in education, more districts are seeing their level of funding being brought down,” Rome said. “Robin Hood was meant to raise the floor, but now the ceiling is being brought down on the heads of Texas students.”
TXSC examined Texas Education Agency (TEA) data and the State’s investment when Robin Hood began in the 1993-1994 school year compared to the current school year to determine growth rates and funding levels.
“The exception has now become the rule. What started as a system intended to rein in 35 outliers has now become a list of 374 districts, which could soon be 500, or more than half the districts in the state,” Rome Said. “Recapture is no longer fulfilling its original purpose. Instead, it is only holding more districts back.”
Record setting numbers of school districts have been identified under Chapter 41 due to district enrollment compared to rising property values, largely due to oil and gas industries.
“The continued increase in Robin Hood is a symptom of a larger problem—an inadequately funded system of school finance,” Rome said.