The number of Texas school districts making Robin Hood recapture payments to the state is surging, and so is the total amount that those districts are paying. 

Some 241 Texas school districts are expected to make nearly $5 billion in total recapture payments to the state this year. In previous years, recapture payments had not exceeded $3 billion. However, as property values have risen and Texans have paid more than expected in property taxes, the state has grabbed that revenue and reduced education funding that comes from the state treasury.

Texans expect that the money they pay in local school taxes will support local schools. That’s why it is critically important that legislators act this year to reduce the burden of recapture on school districts and taxpayers. Here are some ways the state can reduce that burden: 

Increase the Basic Allotment. The Basic Allotment is an amount of per-student revenue to which all Texas school districts are entitled. A higher Basic Allotment will put more dollars into all schools, regardless of their property wealth, and this increase in state funding would reduce the need for so much recapture.

Allow school districts to pay early. Legislation that allows school districts to receive a discount on their recapture payments for paying earlier in the year would help more dollars stay in local school districts. The state offers such a discount to corporate taxpayers who pay the state franchise tax. 

Further compress property tax rates. Legislative leaders have pledged to support billions of dollars in property-tax relief. While this will not result in more dollars reaching the classroom, it will make the state’s education funding system less reliant on property taxes — which will reduce recapture.

We encourage all Texans who are concerned about recapture to share the resources on with legislators and community members in order to draw attention to this issue — and to promote solutions. Legislators need to hear from Texans who are tired of the state pulling so many dollars out of local schools.