Robin Hood Switches Sides: Funding Maplewood Elementary School

With apologies to Jim Hightower: Robin Hood school funding scheme more like a plot cooked up by dastardly Prince John

Written by Steve Wilson (Re-posted from The Flea)

At a recent Maplewood Campus Advisory Council meeting, much to-do was made about the ills of Texas’ “Robin Hood” school financing system, and for good reason. The system makes wealthy (Chapter 41) school districts share dough with the poor school districts, but its criteria for “wealthy” is fairly messed-up. For instance, though 62 percent of Austin Independent School District students are economically disadvantaged, the district had to cough up $128 million last year, more than tony Highland Park in Dallas, whose students are better off by far. This year’s estimate? $135 million.

It gets worse. Chapter 41 schools don’t get transportation dollars either, meaning AISD has to look under a lot of sofa cushions to find the money for hauling 22,000 students around every day.

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Maplewood relies on events like Spring Fling to raise sorely needed funds, because let me tell ya, the state ain’t coughing up much. Photos from 2014 Spring Fling by Jennifer Potter-Miller.

A reform bill floating around the Texas House would fix some of these problems, giving schools an extra $3 billion and reducing Robin Hood reliance. However, the bill may face a difficult time in the Senate, whose members tend to favor school vouchers and tax cuts.

Whatever happens, any legislative effort could become null and void after the session, when the state Supreme Court will hear the court battle that’s raged over the funding since 2011. But reform bill sponsor Jimmie Don Aycock told the Austin American Statesman that he hopes his reform will be enough to settle the case. More info: www.austinisd.org/legislature

For $14K, Principal Hops on Roof

In more cheerful school funding news, the second annual Maplewood Stampede fundraiser at Mueller lake Park in late March raised $14,498.22. Fulfilling her promise to perform a mystery stunt if the goal was met, Principal Vicki Jacobson walked Maplewood’s roof dressed as a bunny a few days later.

Photo by Melissa Nicholson.

Photo by Melissa Nicholson.

 

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