Robin Hood Laws Target MISD, Voters Will Choose How To Pay 10/22/13
CBS 7 News
October 22, 2013
MIDLAND-For the first time, MISD is a Chapter 41 "rich" school district. It must now send $12 million dollars to the state’s general fund for use in other, less wealthy districts.
But voters have to say yes to a measure on the ballot first. If they don't, the state could take property values in place of cash.
MISD’s wealth-per-student ratio has risen and the state's Robin Hood Law will force it to send back $12 million.
“I think it'll be a good idea if it's going to help the children further their education,” said Midland Resident Victor Lemons.
"I think it's OK because if I were in a poorer school district without the tax base, then yes I would welcome the help,” said Midland Resident Linda Jose.
But voters must first say yes to a proposition to “purchase attendance credits from the state with local tax revenues” It's a fancy way of explaining how MISD will send the money and get credit for students in other, poorer districts bringing our wealth-per-student ratio down. But voters could say no.
"If they say no, ‘we don't want you to do that’, then the commissioner comes in and takes part of our land values and that’s what we do not think would be the best advantage to us,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren.
MISD says the ideal solution may be voting yes -- giving the state the money now and keeping property values.
"We want to be in control of writing that check,” Warren said.
"It's required by law,” said Texas Education Authority Information Specialist DeEtta Culbertson of the potential seizure of property tax values. “The commissioner has no other choice, he has to take steps to ensure wealth equalization occurs.”
Some voters did not even understand the wording on the ballot.
"If you saw this on the ballot, would you know what this meant?" we asked.
“Not really,” said one woman. “I’m not sure," said another.
Early voting has already kicked off in Midland. Midland ISD is one of 332 districts out of 1,028 total designated as Chapter 41 for this school year.
Previously, MISD equalized wealth by giving back state funds the district did not use.