What Is An Attendance Credit Election?

Elysian Fields ISD will hold a special election, known as an Attendance Credit Election, on November 8, 2022 to seek voter approval for the district to pay recapture by purchasing attendance credit from the state with local tax revenue.

What Does "Recapture" Mean?

The Texas public school funding process has been called a “Robin Hood” financing system since it shifts revenues from wealthier school districts to less wealthy districts statewide. A significant increase in oil and gas revenues on properties within EFISD this year has led to an increase in tax revenue, which pushed EFISD over the state’s threshold that triggers the Robin Hood revenue recapture process.

Why Is EFISD In Recapture Status?

Like every other school district in the state, EFISD is funded largely by local property taxes from within the district's boundaries. However, EFISD does not appraise properties or set property values, which is handled by each county’s appraisal district. Therefore, EFISD has only partial control over its local revenues. Property values, including oil and gas/mineral values as well as land values, increased so much in the past year that the district’s tax revenues have also increased greatly. EFISD has actually adopted a reduced tax rate for all EFISD property owners in the district for 2022-2023, but the higher appraisal valuations mean that revenues go up even though the tax rate is going down.

What Is Option 3?

Historically, most districts in recapture have selected Option 3. This is because Option 3 maintains a “status quo” for the school district. No properties are affected and all students within existing school district boundaries can continue to attend those schools. If the district selects Option 3, EFISD will pay recapture to the state each month beginning in February 2023, or in one payment for the total amount required to be paid by the district not later than August 15 for the school year for which the agreement is in effect.

What Happens If Option 3 Is Rejected?

If voters reject Option 3, the Commissioner will implement Option 1 or Option 2 on his own. This means that if voters do not approve for EFISD to purchase attendance credits from the state under Option 3, the Texas Commissioner of Education has authority either to detach properties from EFISD and annex them (assign them) to another school district, or to order the consolidation of the entire EFISD into another school district. In other words, if voters reject the proposal, the Commissioner has sole authority to decide whether to detach and annex, or to order consolidation. Under detachment and annexation, the Commissioner has the discretion to choose which properties are removed from EFISD and reassigned to another school system – starting with mineral (oil and gas) properties, public utility and pipeline properties, and industrial/commercial properties. The law provides that the Commissioner should not detach and annex agricultural or residential properties. However, if the revenue imbalance cannot be resolved by detaching and annexing mineral, utility, and commercial properties, the Commissioner then has no choice other than to consolidate EFISD with a neighboring school system.

So What Happens On November 8?

On November 8, EFISD voters will make the choice whether the district pays the state under the Robin Hood plan – or whether the Commissioner reassigns some EFISD properties to other school districts or consolidates EFISD with a neighboring school system altogether.