$16.3 Billion in Local School Taxes
Average 2002 School Tax Rate Is About $1.53 per $100 of Value
Texas independent school districts (ISDs) reported to the Comptroller's Property Tax Division (PTD) a total of more than $16.3 billion in 2002 school property taxes. This $1.2 billion increase was almost 8 percent above the 2001 total school taxes of $15 billion.
The 2002 average statewide tax rate increased almost five cent above the 2001 average rate. About 11 percent of Texas school districts reduced their local adopted tax rates, 27 percent kept the same rate and the remaining 62 percent of the districts increased their rates.
The 2002 school property value reports are for 1,033 Texas school districts, one less than in 2001. In 2002, Sudan ISD in Lamb County and Three-Way ISD in Bailey County consolidated to form the Sudan Consolidated ISD, reported in Lamb County.
The ISD reports do not include local school taxes by special county equalization districts and South Texas ISD. Tax rates reported are per $100 of property value.
The state's 10 largest urban districts accounted for 27 percent of the total 2002 school taxes. While Houston ISD's 2002 rate remained the same as its 2001 tax rate at $1.58, its total tax levy rose about 2 percent to exceed $1 billion. Dallas ISD gained 2 percent in total taxes, totaling $897 million in 2002, while raising the tax rate about 3 percent.
Lewisville ISD in Denton County saw the largest increase (of the largest 10 districts) in total taxes at more than 18 percent. Lewisville ISD increased the tax rate 6 percent above the 2001 rate to generate almost $266 million in taxes.
The other seven largest districts—Austin, Arlington, Cypress-Fairbanks, Richardson, Fort Worth and North East (in Bexar County) ISDs—all increased their tax rates from 4 to 10 percent.
The 50 largest ISDs—or 5 percent of all districts—accounted for more than 55 percent of the total 2002 school taxes.
For the second year in a row, the largest percentage increase in taxes for the 50 ISDs went to Frisco ISD in Collin County. Frisco ISD raised its tax rate 4 percent, but generated about 41 percent more in taxes. Pflugerville ISD in Travis County was second with a tax rate increase of almost 15 percent to gain more than 35 percent in total taxes.
Average tax rate
The 2002 average statewide tax rate was $1.534 per $100 of value, a 5-cent increase above 2001’s average rate. The 2001 average statewide tax rate was $1.486 per $100 of value, a 1-cent increase above 2000’s average rate. 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.
See 2002 tax rates and taxes of 1,033 ISDs reported to the Comptroller. The list includes the percentage change in rates and levies for each district compared to tax year 2001.
Range of rates
The adopted 2002 ISD tax rates ranged from a low of $0.54 per $100 of value in Mirando City ISD in Webb County to a high of $2.00 in Spurger ISD in Tyler County. Spurger ISD also had the highest 2001 rate at $2.00. Seminole ISD in Gaines County had the lowest rate in 2001 at $0.86.
Mirando City ISD had adopted a tax rate of $1.25, but voters in the September 21 rollback election did not ratify that rate. The school district’s rollback tax rate of $0.54 became its adopted rate.
Only seven districts had adopted tax rates of less than $1.00, compared to 11 districts for tax year 2001. None of these seven districts adopted a rate to pay for debt.
About 45 percent of the districts—or 468—had combined rates between $1.00 and $1.50 per $100 of value. The remaining 558 districts, or 54 percent, had rates range from above $1.50 to the high of $2.00.
Ups and downs
School boards in 112 districts—about 11 percent—reduced their school tax rates. Some 277 districts—27 percent—kept the same rate as in 2001. Another 644 districts—or 62 percent—saw their tax rates rise from less than 1 percent to almost 67 percent in 2002.
Mirando ISD in Webb County had the largest tax rate decrease at 64 percent. Even though the school district’s tax rate decreased, total taxes increased almost 80 percent for new value in minerals.
Other large decreases in tax rates included Sivells Bend ISD (Cooke County), 26 percent; Webb Consolidated ISD (Webb County), 12 percent; and Royse City ISD (Rockwall County), 11 percent. While these ISDs saw their tax rates drop, they all saw their total tax levies rise from 9 to 18 percent.
With an increase of more than 67 percent in its tax rate, Dew ISD in Freestone County witnessed the largest rate increase from $0.90 to $1.50 per $100 of value. The ISD’s increased rate raised 62 percent more in school taxes—from $2.7 million to $4.4 million.
Other districts with substantial rate hikes included: Texhoma ISD (Sherman County), 63 percent; Austwell-Tivoli ISD (Refugio County), 59 percent; and Marion ISD (Guadalupe County), 54 percent. All three of these districts also saw their total taxes rise from 39 to 57 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 2002 average M&O rate for ISDs was $1.431, while ISDs’ debt rate averaged $0.103.
State law places a tax rate cap of $1.50 on M&O rates. School boards in 405 ISDs—about 39 percent—adopted an M&O rate at the rate cap, compared to 252 ISDs (about 24 percent) in 2001. Another 34 percent—or 350 districts—have M&O rates between $1.40 and $1.50, compared to 2001 when 340 districts (33 percent) had M&O rates in that range.
Seven school districts in Harris County adopted above the $1.50. Spring Branch ISD adopted an M&O rate of $1.60, but the district has authority by voter election for a higher M&O rate cap. The other six districts were Aldine, Deer Park, Galena Park, North Forest, Pasadena and Katy ISDs. (Katy ISD is located in both Harris and Waller Counties.)
About 30 percent—or 312 districts—do not have a 2002 debt rate for repaying debt obligations. Of those 721 ISDs with debt rates, six districts have a debt rate of more than $0.40. Spurger ISD in Tyler County set the highest debt rate at $0.50. With a M&O rate of $1.50, the district's total rate was $2.00.
What was the range of 2002 ISD rates in Texas?
Rates are based on $100 of property value.
Total ISD Rate Number of ISDs % of All ISDs Less than $1.00 7 0.7 percent $1.00 to $1.20 16 1.5 percent More than $1.20 to $1.40 121 11.7 percent More than $1.40 to $1.50 331 32.0 percent More than $1.50 to $1.60 253 24.5 percent More than $1.60 305 29.5 percent Total 1,033 100 percent
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division.
2002 Rate Changes in Texas School Districts
Source: Comptroller's Property Tax Division
Percent Change in
Rate from 2000
Number of ISDs % of All ISDs Decreases Less than 1 percent 49 4.7 percent 1 to 10 percent 57 5.5 percent More than 10 percent 6 0.6 percent Subtotal 112 10.8 percent No Change 277 26.8 percent Increases Less than 1 percent 68 6.6 percent 1 to 10 percent 470 45.4 percent More than 10 percent 106 10.3 percent Subtotal 644 62.4 percent Total 1,033 100 percent