Photo by: Dalton Spruce
School funding is an enigma for Texas
November 22, 2018
“The Robin Hood plan” – a fitting nickname given to a piece of legislation passed decades ago in Texas concerning the funding of public schools through a recapture system. The basis of the legislation relies on the taking from the rich to give to the poor, meaning larger and more well funded (by taxpayers) districts, will give up a sum of tax dollars to districts in need of funds.
In wealthy districts, property taxes have been raised in order to fund other districts, and the people who are upset about this have justifiable reasons. I believe that we should do all we can to make everyone’s education equal, and I believe that lower funded districts should be able to have the same privileges as wealthier districts, but not in this way.
Those who live in a given district’s area do not always have the same income, meaning that when tax rates rise, there is still an unfair aspect that targets those who make significantly less than others within the same districts. How does raising taxes on those who already struggle making ends meet to give to schools their children don’t even go to make sense?
Another downside of this recapture plan comes from the new facilities and appliances that these less wealthy districts are receiving. When a new football stadium or training facility is built, or new computers are gifted, where is the district getting the money for the upkeep of those things? Will this plan be never ending?
As I have already stated, I am all for the improvement of these resources; I just believe that there will be a deficit eventually, proving that this plan is better in theory but should be kept short term.
From Austin ISD taxpayers who paid the most to other property poor districts, around $544 million in 2018 (and around 3 billion since 1994) have been removed from funds that would go to AISD and be given to others. Out of pocket, the money given has helped other schools afford new infrastructure and technology, but what about the issues that AISD has within their other schools, such as Bowie?
We are losing an ample amount of funding that could be used to improve facilities we already have or to create new ones. For example, to fix the overpopulation of schools like Bowie, which has around 3,000 students in multiple buildings, the funds could be used to build a new school.
Interestingly enough, in 2013, after around 19 years of this plan to, a state district court in Texas ruled that this plan was unconstitutional, stating that the money is not distributed equally and that the money is insufficient. I completely agree with the way this ruling went, but this is still a way that schools get funded in Texas; this makes any sense whatsoever.
There is no way to completely solve the way that public schools are funded; it is an ongoing problem in need of several solutions. As long as public schooling exists, this will be an issue. There are ways to temporarily fix it, as the Robin Hood plan does, but it is merely a band-aid for the real problem of public school funding.