Round Rock ISD was able to give teachers and staff 2 percent raises this past year, but a bond package that would have helped build new schools failed. Recapture payments do not help build new schools. That’s what bonds do. Yet school districts argue the lack of state funding for education is changing the scale of the bonds.
Austin, Bastrop, Lake Travis and Leander school districts are now all asking voters to approve millions of dollars in bonds to help build new schools. This is a look at all of the school bonds that are currently proposed across the state.
“Over time I've seen a lot of districts that have set aside money for the general operating budget and so you're seeing those slide on over into the bonds and that's why you've seen larger bond packages presented to voters in recent years,” said Staats.
"As property taxes continue to grow the state continues to shift the state to the property taxpayer," State Rep. Donna Howard said in regard to the Robin Hood system.
State Rep. Howard said she feels the frustration from the taxpayer's point of view.
“The current funding mechanisms we have are not sustainable. As property taxes continue to grow the state continues to shift the state to the property taxpayer. Even with those extra property taxes we're treading water. The schools aren't getting any more money. It really is frustrating when you are seeing your local property tax bill go up and you know your schools need more resources and yet you're sending a huge portion of that back to the state to help other schools,” Rep. Howard said.
Want to find out what amount of your tax dollars goes to AISD? Here's a calculator.
It's hurting school districts as well, Staat said.
“In 1993 there were 34 school districts that were identified as property wealthy at the time. That number has ballooned to nearly 300 now. So you've got a quarter of the state that's paying back funds to the state to fund education,” said Staat.
You can see what your school district pays into the recapture system and how it has changed over the years here.
Here's look at how much property tax dollars have gone to Central Texas school districts in 2017:
How much property tax dollars have gone to Central Texas school districts in 2017? by kvuenews on Scribd
Many people question who is really being helped. Some argue the system is no longer the Robin Hood system, but that it's instead robbing their neighborhoods.
“It feels that way in Austin,” admitted Rep. Howard. “Austin is the biggest source of recapture dollars in the state. At the same time we have a population. Sixty-percent of our population is considered low income.”