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The amount of school recapture money sent by Marble Falls Independent School District to the state for redistribution to needier  districts jumped to $16.9 million this year from $7 million sent in the last budget year, trustees learned during a regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 22.

“Seventeen million dollars of Marble Falls taxpayer money could go a long way if it was able to stay in Marble Falls ISD,” Board President Kevin Naumann said.

In Texas, school districts are financed mostly through local property taxes. Once taxes are collected, schools with richer property tax bases must send local tax dollars to the state to be redistributed to districts with less valuable property tax bases. Known as the Robin Hood law, the school finance system was adopted by the state Legislature in 1993.

Robin Hood was created with the intention of increasing equity among all public schools in Texas. MFISD Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen told trustees he believes the plan has allowed the state to waive its duty to fund public schools.

If the state would make a sizable contribution to public education using money from other funds, the necessity for the current rate of recapture would disappear, paving the way for lower recapture rates, Allen said.

“I think it would be great if we could get some cooperation on (the state’s) end,” he continued. “That would allow our taxpayers on our end to actually feel the benefit of the tax rate reduction that we’re providing them on the local level.”

While the original 1993 law has been altered by the Texas State Supreme Court and the state Legislature throughout the years, recapture still plays a major role in the state’s public school finance system, with roughly $3 billion in property taxes being taken from Texas public schools in 2021.

“There’s common sense solutions to give relief to taxpayers,” Allen said. “We just need those solutions to be understood at the state level.”

The next regular meeting for the Marble Falls ISD Board of Trustees is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, in the Central Office Community Room, 1800 Colt Circle in Marble Falls.

nathan@thepicayune.com