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How Does Recapture Affect School Funding In Texas?

Gabriel C. Pérez

A large chunk of funding for schools in Austin comes from property taxes, and as many Austinites know, those keep going up every year.

Under the Texas Constitution, the state has no income tax to help pay for schools. To make up for that, in 1993, the Legislature created a system called recapture. The plan is more commonly known as "Robin Hood," because it redistributes tax money from school districts with high property values to districts with low home values.

The law was created to even out educational spending across school districts, but it has drained the Austin Independent School District’s budget. Since AISD is considered a property-wealthy district and property values keep going up, it has been sending a larger and larger portion of its property tax revenue to the state every year.

Case in point: This year it will be giving a record $670 million to the state under recapture – more than any other school district in the state.

The recapture money collected by the state goes into a general pot, along with sales tax money, lottery revenue and smaller revenue streams. So it’s unknown where exactly AISD’s millions of dollars end up.

Do you have a question about school funding? Ask below. 


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