Recapture is based on per-student property wealth

Recapture (also known as Robin Hood) requires school districts with relatively high levels of property-wealth per student to send some of their local tax dollars to the state in an effort to create equalized funding among more than 1,000 Texas school districts. Taxpayers still pay the same amount in taxes regardless of whether the enrollment changes. However, when enrollment decreases, more of each dollar goes to the state rather than local schools.

Private-school vouchers drive up recapture

The public dollars paying for private-school vouchers would be entirely state dollars. That means the state would be pulling more property-tax dollars out of local school districts (through recapture) to pay for students to attend private schools elsewhere. Each student who leaves a school district to attend a private school leaves more property wealth per-student in that district — and the higher a district’s per-student property wealth, the more it pays in recapture. Vouchers give families a financial incentive to leave the district and attend private school.

Sending property-tax dollars to private schools weakens local control

When a homeowner pays property taxes to the local school district, the homeowner has some say in how those dollars are used, because the homeowner can vote for or against candidates running for the Board of Trustees. However, private schools do not have trustees who answer to local voters. Each dollar that leaves the school district to go to a private school gives the taxpayer less control over how that dollar is spent. 

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The Texas Legislature took a major step toward reducing recapture this year by passing billions of dollars in tax relief. Vouchers would undo much of the recapture relief that legislators delivered and cause recapture to start rising again!

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