Average 1999 School Tax Rate Remains the Same - 1st Time in 15 Years
Texas independent school districts (ISDs) reported to the Comptroller's Property Tax Division (PTD) a total of almost $12 billion in 1999 school property taxes. This $651 million increase was about 6 percent above the 1998 total school taxes. The 1999 average statewide tax rate remained almost the same as in 1998, the only time that has occurred in the last 15 years. About 36 percent of Texas school districts reduced their local adopted tax rates, while 35 percent of the districts increased their rates.Largest districts
The school property value reports are for 1,035 Texas school districts. The reports do not include local school taxes by special county equalization districts and South Texas ISD. Since New Braunfels ISD will not set its 1999 tax rate until later this spring, the rate and total taxes for that district are proposed amounts.
The state's 10 largest urban districts accounted for 29 percent of the total 1999 school taxes. While Houston ISD's 1999 tax rate was the same as in tax year 1998, its total tax levy rose more than 8 percent to exceed $755 million. Dallas ISD gained 10 percent in total taxes, to total $700 million, also keeping the same tax rate as in 1998. Both of these school districts saw a strong economy that added properties to their tax base.Average tax rate
With a 1999 tax rate increase of less than 3 percent, Plano ISD saw the largest increase in total taxes at 15 percent, reaching almost $326 million. Austin ISD's taxes exceeded $455 million, more than a 14-percent increase above 1998 taxes.
The other six districts--Plano, Richardson, Arlington, Fort Worth, Cypress-Fairbanks, North East and Northside (in Bexar County) ISDs--all increased their tax levies, ranging from 6.5 to 12.5 percent.
The 50 largest ISDs--or 5 percent of all districts--accounted for 60 percent of the total 1999 school taxes. The largest percentage decrease in tax rates for these 50 ISDs went to Humble ISD in Harris County. Humble ISD dropped its tax rate 8.3 percent and total taxes declined almost 5 percent. Denton ISD was second with a tax rate decrease of 8.1 percent, but it still gained almost 3 percent in total taxes.
The 1999 average statewide tax rate remained almost the same at $1.452 per $100 of value. The 1998 average statewide tax rate was about $1.451 per $100 of value. This average rate calculation uses the reported adopted tax rates divided by the number of ISDs reporting. This average does not consider any overall tax value or levy changes resulting in tax rate increases or decreases.Range of rates
Pages 8 to 24 list the 1999 tax rates and taxes of 1,035 ISDs reported to the Comptroller. The list includes the percentage change in rates and levies for each district compared to tax year 1998.
The adopted 1999 ISD tax rates ranged from a low of $0.8344 per $100 of value in Glen Rose ISD in Somervell County to a high of $1.8929 in Allen ISD in Collin County. Glen Rose ISD also had the lowest tax rate in 1998 at $0.82 per $100. Dripping Springs ISD in Hays County had the highest 1998 tax rate at $1.97. For the second year, Lake Travis ISD in Travis County had the second highest tax rate at $1.8884, lower than its 1998 rate of $1.9452 per $100.Ups and downs
Only seven districts had adopted tax rates of less than $1.00, compared to eight districts for tax year 1998. Of these seven districts, only one of the districts' total rate included a rate to pay for debt.
About 69 percent of the districts--or 712--had combined rates between $1.00 and $1.50 per $100 of value. The remaining 316 districts' rates ranged from above $1.50 to the high of $1.8929.
Taxpayers in 374 districts--about 36 percent--reduced their school tax rates. Some 297 districts--about 29 percent--kept the same rate as in 1998. Another 364 districts--or 35 percent--saw their tax rates rise in 1999.Operating and debt rates
Splendora ISD in Montgomery County had the largest tax rate decrease at almost 22 percent. The decrease in the school district's tax rate resulted in total taxes decreasing only about 7 percent, since Splendora ISD's values increased more than 27 percent. While Tenaha ISD in Shelby County reduced its tax rate by 20 percent-- from $1.50 to $1.1974--the district's taxes increased by 22 percent because of increasing property values. Tenaha ISD saw its tax base increase 52 percent in 1999.
Other districts with large tax-rate declines from 1998 included Tolar ISD in Hood County (almost 18 percent) and Claude ISD in Armstrong County (17 percent).
With an increase of 53 percent in its tax rate, Kenedy Countywide ISD in Kenedy County witnessed the largest rate increase from about $0.98 to $1.50 per $100 of value. The ISD's increased rate, however, raised only 23 percent more in school taxes--from $2.5 to about $3.1 million.
Other districts with substantial rate hikes included Etiole ISD in Nacogdoches County (41.5 percent), Cushing ISD in Nacogdoches County (32 percent) and Granger ISD in Williamson County (31 percent).
Property tax rates may consist of two parts: a maintenance and operations (M&O) rate and an interest and sinking fund (I&S) rate. The M&O rate covers general operating costs. The I&S rate, which is usually called the "debt" rate, is used to repay a district's debt. The state's 1999 average M&O rate for ISDs was $1.3647, while ISDs' debt rate averaged $0.0870.
State law places a tax rate cap of $1.50 on M&O rates. School boards in 154 ISDs--about 15 percent--adopted an M&O rate at the rate cap, compared to 106 ISDs (10 percent) in 1998. Another 29 percent--or 305 districts--have M&O rates between $1.40 and $1.50, compared to 1998 when 217 districts (21 percent) had M&O rates in that range. Spring Branch ISD in Harris County adopted an M&O rate of $1.60, but the district has authority by voter election for a higher M&O rate cap.
About 37 percent--382 districts--do not have a 1999 debt rate for repaying debt obligations. Of those 653 ISDs with debt rates, seven districts have a debt rate of more than $0.40. Hays Consolidated ISD in Hays County set the highest debt rate at $0.5604. With a M&O rate of $1.2346, the district's total rate is $1.7950.
|What was the range of 1999 ISD rates in Texas?|
|Total ISD Rate||Number
|Less than $1.00||7||0.7|
|$1.00 to $1.20||46||4.4|
|More than $1.20 to $1.40||278||26.9|
|More than $1.40 to $1.50||388||37.5|
|More than $1.50 to $1.60||187||18.1|
|More than $1.60||129||12.4|
|1999 Rate Changes in Texas School Districts|
Percent Change in
Rate from 1998
|Less than 1 percent||57||5.5|
|Less than 1 percent||57||5.5|
|1 to 10 percent||290||28.0|
|More than 10 percent||27||2.6|
|Less than 1 percent||36||3.5|
|1 to 10 percent||284||27.4|
|More than 10 percent||44||4.3|
|School Tax Rate History from 1985 to 1999||While the average school tax rate in Texas has increased by more than $0.64 from 1985 to 1999, the average rate remained almost the same from 1998 to 1999. Shown below are the average school tax rates per $100 of property value for the last 15 years. These rates were computed by dividing the total rates by the number of school districts. Tax years 1991 and 1992 are the combined average tax rates for ISDs and the county education districts (CEDs) operating at that time.
*Combined ISD and CED rates