Educational Terms Glossary
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Educational Terms Glossary

Austin yield: This term is used as a benchmark calculation for the setting of Chapter 41 recapture.

Basic Allotment: The state defines this as the amount of funding a school district receives from the state and local to cover costs of providing a “basic instructional program to an average student in an average district.” This could be modified by the state using adjustments and weights to create equity.

Chapter 41: In the Texas Education Code, Chapter 41 requires school districts that are deemed “property wealthy” to share their revenues with school districts that are deemed “property poor.” A “Chapter 41 School Districts,” therefore, is a school district that is considered property wealthy and must make recapture payments to the state, which then disperses these payments to districts considered property poor. This is considered the state’s “Robin Hood” law.

Every Student Succeeds Act: This federal act was signed by President Obama in December of 2015 and includes requirements to help with ensuring success for all students and schools. Similar to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the act supports a commitment to equal opportunity for all students.

Foundation School Program: The Foundation School Program – or FSP – is the primary source of state funding for Texas school districts. The FSP ensures all school districts receive “substantially equal access to similar revenue per student at similar tax effort.” FSP is a combination of state aid and local property tax revenue.

Pennies: The District’s Maintenance & Operations (M&O) tax rate is budgeted at $1.0400 and the Interest & Sinking (I&S) tax rate is budgeted at $0.45000 yielding a total rate of $1.49000 for purpose of the adopted budget.  The District is allowed $0.17 of additional pennies for the purpose of Maintenance & Operations.  The first four pennies are not recaptured and do not require an election.  The second two pennies are not recaptured, but do require an election.  The remaining eleven pennies are recaptured and require an election.

Tax Rate Analysys

Base M&O Tax Rate   $1.00 Base M&O Tax Rate
   Board Discretion    $0.0400 "Golden Pennies"
   Election Required   $ 0.0200 "Silver Pennies"
   Election Required    $0.1100 "Copper Pennies"
   Maximum M&O Tax Rate    $1.1700  

Proposed Total Tax Rate:      
   M&O Tax Rate   $1.0400  
   I&S Tax Rate   $0.4500  
   Total Tax Rate    $1.49   

In Texas school finance terms, recapture refers to a payment made by a Chapter 41 school district that will be dispersed to districts deemed “property poor.” The state “recaptures” what it deems excess revenue from Chapter 41 school districts.

Robin Hood: In Texas school finance terms, “Robin Hood” is a reference to the state’s Chapter 41 law of the Texas Education Code. This law requires districts that are deemed “property wealthy” to share their revenue with districts deemed “property poor,” which is why the law is often referred to as “Robin Hood” (taking from the “rich” and giving to the “poor”).

STAAR: The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness – or STAAR – program is the state-mandated exam system in Texas, which was first implemented in the 2011-12 academic year. At the elementary and middle school level, STAAR exams currently take place in grades 3 to 8 (math and reading), 4 and 7 (writing), 5 and 8 (science in both; social studies in grade 8). At the high school level, STAAR exams take place in Algebra I, biology, English I, English II and U.S. History; these exams serve as EOCs.

TEA: The Texas Education Agency – or TEA – is the state-run educational oversight agency in Texas. The agency sets state standards, including school and district accountability as well as student exam requirements. The agency’s commissioner is Mike Morath, a former Dallas ISD trustee who began his current position in January 2016. Its website is

Technology and Instructional Materials Allotment: Formerly known as the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA), the Technology and Instructional Materials Allotment – or TIMA – was updated to add the word technology during the 85th Legislature to better define where the funds are allocated. TIMA is used in the purchase of instructional materials, technological equipment and technology-related services. The Commissioner, who sets the exact amount of money deposited in a school district’s TIMA account, determines funding. Funding typically changes each year based on student population and other local costs such as fast-growth school districts.

TRE: A Tax Ratification Election – or TRE – is an election that is required to pass an increase in a tax rate. For Texas school districts, TREs are common when districts try to advance beyond their first four “golden pennies.” The TRE is passed if the majority of ballots are cast in favor of the proposal for increasing a tax rate.

TRS: The Teacher Retirement System of Texas – or TRS – is the retirement system for public educators in the state of Texas. TRS is one of the largest retirement systems in the nation. School districts and their employees pay into TRS to fund employee retirement benefits. TRS encompasses both economic and health care benefits.