374 Texas Districts Must Pay Out to Poorer Schools

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Texas has added 23 school districts to a now-record list of those required to give some of what they raise in local tax revenue to the state for distribution to poorer schools.

As a result, the number of districts considered property-wealthy has increased to 374. The funding scheme is the centerpiece of Texas' "Robin Hood" school finance system which began in 1993 with just 35 districts statewide considered wealthy enough to share portions of their tax revenues.

In less than 20 years, the number has increased more than 10-fold and now represents more than a third of the state's 1,000-plus total school districts. Property-wealthy districts give back to the state more than a combined $1 billion annually.

Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokesman for the Texas Education Agency, said that while some districts have increased property-tax rates or seen their tax bases grow due to population booms, a key reason the list of property-wealth districts keeps growing has been increasing property wealth in certain parts of Texas.

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