Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code, also known as “Robin Hood”, requires property-rich school districts to send portions of their tax revenue to the state, which in turn is redistributed to property poor districts. This system of wealth distribution was established in 1993 in an effort to provide equal funding to all schools, regardless of the economic status of their relative neighborhoods.
Although beneficial in theory, Robin Hood has failed in practice. The redistribution system has created a snowball effect of higher property taxes, a decline in student performance, and has caused school finance to become more convoluted than ever before.
In order to maintain equal funding, the state will adjust the amount it gives to a school district based on the relative property values of that district. Subsequently, as property values have increased across Texas, the state has provided less and less funding for districts. This has resulted in a substantial shift of the financial burden from the state to the local taxpayer – essentially creating a state-wide property tax.
In May 2016, the Texas Supreme Court ended a major lawsuit over the constitutionality of Robin Hood that was brought forth by over 600 Texas schools. The court upheld it as constitutional and transferred the decision to state legislators. On the first day of bill filing for the 85th legislative session, State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) filed legislation that calls for the repeal of Robin Hood.