State's Robin Hood System Becomes Daylight Robbery

AISD will send (gulp) how much money to the state?

State's Robin Hood System Becomes Daylight Robbery

The Austin Independent School District will send over half a billion dollars to the state next year, and by 2019 over half of all non-construction related taxes raised by AISD will go into state coffers. According to the latest projections given to the board on Feb. 27 by AISD Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley, the district is set to send $406 million (38.3%) of its $1.06 billion maintenance and operations budget to the state in the current financial year. That's a steep rise from the $266 million (28.8% of $923 million) sent last year under the woefully misnamed Robin Hood system. What's worse, that recapture payment should accelerate over the next few years, reaching an estimated $807 million in FY 2019, which will represent 56.5% of all M&O taxes paid by AISD home and business property owners. The only possible respite will be if the Legislature adds more cash to their contribution to public education, but the Senate seemingly wants more cuts, while the House is only proposing a $1.6 billion boost statewide – an improvement, but still only a drop in a leaking bucket.

AISD Board Vice President Paul Saldaña said such an imposition puts extra pressure on the AISD Facility and Bond Planning Advisory Committee, which is considering a plethora of structural cost-saving options, including selling off several properties seen by some as surplus to requirements, as well as potentially merging several under-enrolled campuses. Saldaña says he favors the potential one-off $100 million return from selling those excess properties over the $10 million per annum reduction in operating costs from closures. He said, "Before I can get sold on school consolidations and closures, we need to run the gamut of options on our property portfolio."

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More school finance
No Sales Tax for Schools
No Sales Tax for Schools
Senate approves its version of school finance, with a few notable changes

Mary Tuma, May 10, 2019

AISD Trustees Consider $30 Million in Cuts
AISD Trustees Consider $30 Million in Cuts
Treading carefully on the budget

Austin Sanders, April 26, 2019

More by Richard Whittaker
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
The story is lacking but the spectacle is stupendous

May 24, 2024

The Garfield Movie
Jim Davis’ comic strip gets an animated reboot with Chris Pratt voicing the iconic cat

May 24, 2024


school finance, Robin Hood, 85th Lege, Austin ISD, Nicole Conley, Paul Saldaña

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle