ECISD Now a "Rich" District, Will Lose Funds to State

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The boom in oil and people has bumped Ector County ISD up to a property-wealthy Chapter 41 school district.

The district got the news earlier this week and they've been trying to plan for it because the state will now dip their own hands into that wealth through the state's "Robin Hood" plan.

"You've reached a point where, locally, you collect so much money that the state deems it necessary to take some back to then send to poorer school districts across the state," Mike Adkins, ECISD Director of Communications, said.

ECISD now joins the more than 350 Chapter 41 districts out of the more than 1,000 school districts state-wide.

The district said this doesn't stop the state school finance lawsuit they joined back in January or the three percent raise they gave all employees on Monday.

But future plans are now uncertain.

"What we've been budgeting for this year, we're going to have," Adkins said. "It's just if we get anything more, it's going to go to the state."

So where does what the district makes end and how much the state takes begin?

"Once a property's wealth per student exceeds that $319,500 per student then they're required to reduce their wealth," Spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency, Suzanne Marchman, said.

Districts have five options to give extra money back.

"A school district can consolidate with another school district in their area, detach property, purchase attendance credits from the state, contract to educate students from a partner district, they can consolidate tax bases with another district," Marchman said.

ECISD said it doesn't look good especially after what they've heard from the state for next year.

"They expect this budget situation to be worse than it was in 2011, that we can expect cuts and even larger cuts," Adkins said.

In the next week, the district hopes to learn how much will eventually be taken out of their pockets.

"You don't know what you're going to face," Adkins said. "That's when you hope for the best but you plan for the worst."