Trustees in Spring Branch Independent School District voted unanimously to stop sending “Robin Hood” recapture payments to the state.
The “Robin Hood” plan, a nickname given to school finance legislation enacted in 1993, involves local property taxes that are “recaptured” from property-wealthy school districts and sent to the state. The funds are then redistributed to less wealthy districts across Texas.
The Republican Party of Texas has called for abolishing the program, stating their opposition to “Robin Hood schemes that raise tuition for some students to give to others.”
Spring Branch ISD is among the districts that have funds taken from them annually.
On Monday evening, trustees voted to give Superintendent Jennifer Blaine the authority to not send the state the payment in an effort to keep more money in the district.
“I think that school districts across the state of Texas, who are recapture districts, are going to have to start standing up to Governor Abbott, our legislature, [Texas Education Agency] Commissioner [Mike] Morath on behalf of the children of Texas that go to public schools,” said Board Vice President Lisa Alpe.
According to Christine Porter, SBISD’s associate superintendent for finance, the district has sent over $200 million to the state since 2020.
“We are severely underfunded. We have not been given any increase in funding since 2019, despite record inflation and I know in Spring Branch we simply cannot afford to continue to send millions and millions of dollars to the state,” said Alpe. “I think now is the time to say ‘come and take it.'”
Trustee Minda Caesar agreed with Alpe, saying the “fight is not over.”
A special session dedicated to education is expected later this fall.