The Texas school finance system is notoriously complicated, which makes it difficult for average people to have informed debates about how a large portion of their property taxes are spent.
Here’s an example: School districts are funded through two separate property taxes. One is called M&O, for maintenance and operations. That tax rate pays for stuff like teacher salaries, water bills, electricity bills, textbooks and so on.
The second tax rate is called I&S, for interest and sinking. That money can only be used to pay down school district debt on school buildings, facilities, and other capital expenditures.
Now here is where it gets interesting. The tax you pay for M&O is subject to the state’s so-called Robin Hood law, a rule that takes money from wealthier districts and redistributes it to poorer districts in order to provide “substantially equal access” to education funding per student.