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Leander ISD estimates its first payment into state’s ‘Robin Hood’ system will top $35 million

The Leander Independent School District's administrative building.
Michael Minasi
/
KUT

For the first time in its history, the Leander Independent School District is set to pay into the state’s recapture system, commonly known as “Robin Hood.”

The system requires wealthy school districts to share their property tax money with poorer school districts that don’t have access to that kind of revenue. State legislators created the system with the intention of equalizing school funding.

The state determines which districts pay into the system based on home values. The cost of an average home in Leander is $423,031, according to the district's website.

"Leander ISD is now going into recapture ... as a result of our rapidly rising property value growth," Trish Bode, the district's school board president, told KUT.

The district estimates it will have to pay the state $36.2 million of its local tax revenue — about 8% of its total 2022-23 budget — in recapture, according to its website.

For comparison, Austin ISD estimates it will pay $846 million in recapture — nearly half of the district's 2022-23 budget.

"That will be $30 million that does not stay in our district," Bode said.

She said the final amount will likely be determined in the spring when the Texas Education Agency collects updated property values for the district.

Proposition A, which Leander voters approved last election, allows the district to begin making those payments. Bode used an analogy to describe the process.

"You get a bill and you can write a check, but if you don't pass 'Proposition A,' then the state comes and looks in your purse to see what it can take out," she said. "So 'Proposition A' allowed us to write the check."

But Bode said there’s still more to figure out when it comes to recapture.

"There's part two, three and four of the recapture story that's still playing out," she said. "The election was just about part one — how we pay it."

"Recapture is so complex and there’s so many different parts of how it impacts not only our taxpayers, but also, overall, Texas’ public education funding," she said.

Kailey Hunt is KUT's Williamson County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at khunt@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @KaileyEHunt.
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