UnRAPPed | Recapture
LISD believes in the importance of all stakeholders understanding the basics of how our district receives its funds, and where the funds are being allocated once they are collected. School finance is a complicated topic, but we’ve broken down a few important topics to give the community a snapshot of how public school funding works in Texas. In LISD, we advocate for as much of the taxpayer dollars as possible to remain in our district where they benefit the communities we serve.
Recapture, also known as “Robin Hood”, continues to be a buzzword throughout the many school districts in Texas it affects, LISD being one of them. When this concept was created back in 1993, it only applied to 34 districts across the state that were required to pay approximately $130 million collectively back to the state. Today, the latest comptroller estimates are showing that Texas is projected to receive upwards of $5 billion from more than 240 school districts through recapture in the current school year.
In LISD, the funds we receive from our local taxpayers through their property taxes exceed the entitlement we are “allowed” by the state of Texas, which means we send millions of dollars back to the state every year. LISD sent $45 million back to the state in recapture for 2022, and is set to send approximately $60 million back to the state in 2023, more than 10% of the property taxes collected by local taxpayers. This impacts LISD’s ability to hire and pay staff, as well as provide the quality educational opportunities available to students.
One of the most concerning aspects of recapture is the lack of transparency from the state on where the funds collected through recapture are being used. These funds do not necessarily pour into other public school districts throughout Texas. When the state collects more local property tax dollars from school districts through recapture, those funds funnel into the state’s General Fund balance where dollars are spent on other priorities unrelated to education.
The best way to relieve the burden on school districts related to recapture is to increase the Basic Allotment, which benefits all school districts in the state.