PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 14, 2013

PN-GISD gets break from Robin Hood

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

GROVES — Robin Hood and his merry men will have to look elsewhere for surplus money this year.

For the first time in more than six years Port Neches-Groves ISD will not have to send recapture funds back to the Texas Education Agency.

The Chapter 41 plan, or Robin Hood plan, is Texas legislation enacted in 1993 to provide court-mandated equitable school financing for all school districts in the state. The law “recaptured” property tax revenue from property-wealthy school districts to help reduce the disparity in the revenue-generating ability of school districts with different amounts of property wealth per student.

PN-GISD has paid back millions of dollars through the years and this marks the first time in at least six years the district won’t be required to send back funding, Cheryl Hernandez, PN-GISD business manager said during Monday’s school board meeting. She doesn’t expect the district will have to pay next year, for the 20-13-2014 school year, either.

“Based on the formula, all the factors are working to our favor,” Hernandez said after the meeting.

The district’s recapture totals have been anywhere from $2 million up to $12 million, she said.

The reason the district will not be required to send monies back is due to an increase of about 100 students coupled with a decrease in property values. With the additional students also came the task of hiring more teachers.

“Along with revenue comes expenditures,” she said.

A school’s Chapter 41 status and recapture values are determined by property values and the average daily attendance of students. While a school district may be deemed Chapter 41, the district may not have to pay the state based on final student data submitted by the school district at the end of the academic year.

And even though the district had to add more staff to the payroll the district will be able to add to its fund balance.

PN-GISD Superintendent Rodney Cavness said there are some good things going on right now in the district.

“We are growing steadily,” Cavness said.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews