The Texas Education Agency last week notified a record 374 local school districts with high property valuations that they must share tax revenues with poorer districts.
An equalized funding law passed by the Legislature in 1993 requires districts with property valuations above $319,500 per student to share their wealth. The Legislature was ordered by the Texas Supreme Court to provide a more equitable funding plan.
There were 35 school districts subject to the so-called “Robin Hood” plan at first, and 164 districts in 2007.
A trial that combines several lawsuits, which contend that the current school funding method in Texas is unconstitutional, is set to get under way Oct. 22 in Austin.
The director of the Texas School Coalition, which filed suit on behalf of 82 property-rich districts, said the high number of districts considered wealthy is a sign the system is broken.
“Texas has just over 1,000 school districts, and having close to 400 of them considered property-wealthy shows there is not enough money in the system overall,” said the Texas School Coalition’s Christy Rome.
She said that property-rich districts sent almost $1.1 billion of local property tax revenues to the state in fiscal 2012 under the share-the-wealth funding system.