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Yorktown school district voters will determine how to share the wealth

By Sonny Long
May 6, 2013 at 12:06 a.m.
Updated May 7, 2013 at 12:07 a.m.


ROBIN HOOD ELECTION OPTIONS

To reduce wealth, a school district has the following options, according to state law. The state offers five options for the school districts. The school board chose options 3 and 4 for the voters to vote on.

  1. Consolidate with another district

  2. Detach property

3.Purchase attendance credits from the state

4.Contract to educate nonresident students from a partner district

  1. Consolidate tax bases with another district

SOURCES: Texas Education Code; Yorktown School District

PROPERTY VALUES AND SCHOOL ENROLLMENT

To determine a school district's wealth, the state uses a formula that considers property values and enrollment. Here is a look at those in the Yorktown school district since 2010.

YEAR/ENROLLMENT/PROPERTY VALUE

• 2010/526/$143,217,364

• 2011/541/$141,344,363

• 2012/543/$291,893,202

• 2013/524/$602,795,290

SOURCE: Yorktown School District

EARLY VOTING

Tuesday is the last day to vote in early voting. The poll will be open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the school administrative office, 331 West Main St.

On Saturday, the polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at Yorktown High School, 338 W. Main St.

An increase in property values and a declining enrollment is forcing the Yorktown school district to share its wealth.

State law dictates through the use of a formula that when a school district's property value divided by the number of students exceeds $319,500, the district becomes designated as a Chapter 41 district.

On Saturday, voters will determine how the district will share the wealth.

Superintendent Deborah Kneese said the school district began discussing the possibility of the Chapter 41 status as far back as 2011.

"We saw that due to the Eagle Ford Shale activity, our oil and mineral valuations were increasing very quickly," she said. "We began to give our school board members background then on what we might have to do moving forward."

Under what is known as the "Robin Hood" plan, wealthy school districts must send any additional revenue (over the formula's maximum level) to the state. That "recapture" payment must come from the district's operating budget.

Of the five options available, voters in the Yorktown school district have a choice of two as approved by the school board.

Voters can choose to purchase attendance credits from the state and/or contract to educate nonresident students from a partner district.

The school board held a public hearing on the upcoming election April 15, with no questions asked by members of the public, said Kneese.

According to literature provided by the school district, voting for both propositions will allow the school district to send money directly to the state or another school district, which can save the district up to 5 percent on its payment to the state.

"We have no choice but to do the election. We don't want to lose any more control locally than we have to," said the superintendent.

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