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Robin Hood system: Saving our schools or robbing our kids’ futures?

It is one of the most complicated, controversial topics for families in Central Texas. School finance didn't change much after this last legislative session despite promises from lawmakers that education funding would be a priority. The KVUE Defenders uncover what needs to change to help fund your child's school.

Terri Gruca

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Published: 11/2/2017 10:13:46 PM
Updated: 10:57 PM CDT November 3, 2017

This year, Austin's school district will pay nearly half a billion dollars to help fund other school districts.

Eanes Independent School District will pay $93 million and Round Rock Independent School District will pay $9 million while Lake Travis Independent School District will pay more than $43 million. And property tax dollars generate all that money sent to poorer districts across the state.

A look at what some Central Texas school districts have to pay in 2017 as part of the Robin Hood system.

It's a system called Robin Hood, which was developed decades ago as a way to help even the playing field. The idea is that wealthier school districts could help poorer ones. Critics argue the formulas make things tougher for Central Texas school districts.

Recapture payments contribute about 11 percent -- or about $2 billion -- of school funding in Texas.

Other sources such as the lottery account for about $1.3 billion.

Fourth grade teacher Stephanie Stobe fears what it may mean for Round Rock ISD.

“I'm worried (about whether we are) going to have the right staff in the right positions with the right type of expertise to help our children who need help the most,” she said.

As a teacher in Round Rock ISD for the last 10 years she's seen her district struggle to make ends meet.

“We just adopted our fourth deficit budget in the last six years,” said Randy Staats, chief financial officer for Round Rock ISD. “The deficit this year is $14.8 million. To start with this year we're generating an additional tax collections of almost $29 million based on our projections and we're only able to keep $1 million of that.”