Truth in Taxation: Required Public Notice and Meeting

by Coy Holcombe.  

Before the public hearing on the budget, a school district is required to publish a quarter page notice that provides information about the public hearing and information about the tax rate and revenue:

A school district publishes one notice – NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS BUDGET AND PROPOSED TAX RATE – in a local newspaper. The notice appears in the newspaper no later than 10 days nor earlier than 30 days before the date of the public meeting.

School districts are not required to publish the effective tax rate and other schedules required by law for other types of taxing units. The rollback tax rate and unencumbered fund balances will appear on on this one notice (Truth in Taxation, p 17).

State law provides that the notice contain certain information. While a district can make their own notice, a notice is furnished by the comptroller’s office that meets all the state requirements. Whatever notice is used, it must contain the following information;

First Paragraph: Name of the school district, date, time, and place of the public meeting. The notice must state that a school district cannot adopt a rate that exceeds the proposed rate shown on the notice. The final part of this paragraph contains the proposed M & O rate and the proposed I & S rate.

The second section is titled "Comparison of Proposed Budget with Last Year’s Budget." This section must show the percent of increase or decrease in the amount of budgeted for the preceding year and the amount budgeted for the current year.

The third section is titled "Total Appraised Value and Total Taxable Value."

Districts are then required to state the amount of their outstanding bonded indebtedness.

The next part of the notice is a chart with three columns that state the school district’s tax rates for M & O, interest and sinking (I & S) and the total rate. There are three rows in the chart: 1) Last Year’s Rate, Rate to Maintain Same Level of Maintenance & Operations Revenue & Pay Debt Service, and 3) Proposed Rate. All of these values are calculated by spreadsheets. 

The next part of the notice is another chart that compares the proposed tax rate with last year’s tax rate on an average residence in the school district. There are five rows in this chart: 1) Average Market Value of Residence, 2) Average Taxable Value of Residence, 3) Last Year’s Rate Versus Propose Rate – per $100 Value, 4) Taxes Due on Average Residence, and 5) Increase (Decrease) in Taxes.

The seventh part of the notice is a statement about the homesteads of people 65 or older being frozen once they reach the age of 65.

The eighth part is a Notice of Rollback Rate.

The final part is an estimate of the district’s unencumbered fund balances remaining in the M & 0 accounts and the I & S accounts at the end of the current fiscal year. 

There you have the legal requirements of the notification that districts must publish. At this point in time, I cannot give you an exact date on when EISD will be publishing our notice. I would estimate that it would be published in the first two weeks of August.  


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