Average 2000 School Tax Rate Is About $1.475 per $100
Texas independent school districts (ISDs) reported to the Comptroller's Property Tax Division (PTD) a total of about $13.4 billion in 2000 school property taxes. This $1.4 billion increase was almost 12 percent above the 1999 total school taxes. The 2000 average statewide tax rate increased about 2 cents above the 1999 average rate. About 21 percent of Texas school districts reduced their local adopted tax rates, 27 percent kept the same rate and the remaining 52 percent of the districts increased their rates.
The school property value reports are for 1,034 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 2000 tax rate until later this spring, the rate and total taxes for that district are proposed amounts. Memphis and Lakeview ISDs in Hall County consolidated in 2001 and are now called Memphis Consolidated ISD. Tax rates reported are per $100 of property value.
The state's 10 largest urban districts accounted for almost 30 percent of the total 2000 school taxes. While Houston ISD's 2000 tax rate of $1.519 increased about 4 percent above its 1999 tax rate, Houston ISD's total tax levy rose more than 14 percent to exceed $862 million. Dallas ISD also gained 14 percent in total taxes, to total almost $801 million, with about a 6-percent tax rate increase above 1999's rate. Dallas ISD's 2000 rate was $1.54753 per $100 of value. Both of these school districts saw a strong economy that added properties to their tax base.
With a 2000 tax rate increase of about 7 percent, North East ISD in Bexar County saw the largest increase (of the largest 10 districts) in total taxes at 17.4 percent, reaching more than $241 million. Fort Worth ISD’s taxes also grew 17 percent above 1999 taxes to reach almost $232 million.
The other six largest districts—Austin, Plano, Arlington, Richardson, Cypress-Fairbanks and Northside (in Bexar County) ISDs—all increased their tax levies, ranging from 6 to 15 percent.
The 50 largest ISDs—or 5 percent of all districts—accounted for about 61 percent of the total 2000 school taxes. The largest percentage decrease in tax rates for these 50 ISDs went to Garland ISD in Dallas County. Garland ISD dropped its tax rate about 5 percent; total taxes increased just over 1 percent. Spring ISD in Harris County was second with a tax rate decrease of almost 3 percent, but it still gained more than 10 percent in total taxes.
Average tax rate
The 2000 average statewide tax rate increased about 2 cents to $1.475 per $100 of value. The 1999 average statewide tax rate was $1.452 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.
Pages 8 to 24 list the 2000 tax rates and taxes of 1,034 ISDs reported to the Comptroller. The list includes the percentage change in rates and levies for each district compared to tax year 1999.
Range of rates
The adopted 2000 ISD tax rates ranged from a low of $0.86 per $100 of value in Seminole ISD in Gaines County to a high of $1.91 in Driscoll ISD in Nueces County. Glen Rose ISD had the lowest tax rate in both 1998 and 1999. Allen ISD in Collin County had the highest rate in 1999.
Eight districts had adopted tax rates of less than $1.00, compared to seven districts for tax year 1999. Of these eight districts, only two of the districts’ total rate included a rate to pay for debt.
About 62 percent of the districts—or 642—had combined rates between $1.00 and $1.50 per $100 of value. The remaining 384 districts' rates ranged from above $1.50 to the high of $1.91.
Ups and downs
Taxpayers in 219 districts—about 21 percent—reduced their school tax rates. Some 279 districts—27 percent—kept the same rate as in 1999. Another 536 districts—or 52 percent—saw their tax rates rise from less than 1 percent to more than 29 percent in 2000.
Anderson-Shiro ISD in Grimes County had the largest tax rate decrease at 30 percent. Even though the school district’s tax rate decreased, total taxes increased almost 26 percent.
Other large decreases in tax rates included Guthrie ISD in King County (24 percent), Cuero ISD in DeWitt County (20 percent), Jayton-Girard ISD in Kent County (20 percent) and Leveretts Chapel ISD in Rusk County (19 percent). While these ISDs saw their tax rates drop, all of them saw their total taxes increase, ranging from 5 to 9 percent.
With an increase of more than 29 percent in its tax rate, Royal ISD in Waller County witnessed the largest rate increase from about $1.376 to $1.78 per $100 of value. The ISD’s increased rate, however, raised 43 percent more in school taxes—from $3.8 million to about $5.4 million.
Other districts with substantial rate hikes included Krum ISD in Denton County (29 percent), Driscoll ISD in Nueces County (27 percent), Fort Hancock ISD in Hudspeth County (25 percent), Hale Center ISD in Hale County (25 percent) and Blue Ridge ISD in Collin County (25 percent).
Operating and debt rates
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 2000 average M&O rate for ISDs was $1.3845, while ISDs’ debt rate averaged $0.0906.
State law places a tax rate cap of $1.50 on M&O rates. School boards in 186 ISDs—about 18 percent—adopted an M&O rate at the rate cap, compared to 154 ISDs (about 15 percent) in 1999. Another 35 percent—or 366 districts—have M&O rates between $1.40 and $1.50, compared to 1999 when 305 districts (29 percent) had M&O rates in that range. Three school districts adopted above the $1.50. Spring Branch ISD in Harris County adopted an M&O rate of $1.605, but the district has authority by voter election for a higher M&O rate cap. The other two districts were North Forest ISD in Harris County and Buffalo ISD in Leon County.
About 35 percent—or 365 districts—do not have a 2000 debt rate for repaying debt obligations. Of those 669 ISDs with debt rates, eight districts have a debt rate of more than $0.40. Industrial ISD in Jackson County set the highest debt rate at $0.50. With a M&O rate of $0.97, the district's total rate was $1.47.