Texas Education Code

Sec. § 44.004
Notice of Budget and Tax Rate Meeting; Budget Adoption


(a)

When the budget has been prepared under Section 44.002 (Preparation of Budget), the president shall call a meeting of the board of trustees for the purpose of adopting a budget for the succeeding fiscal year.

(b)

The president shall provide for the publication of notice of the budget and proposed tax rate meeting in a daily, weekly, or biweekly newspaper published in the district. If no daily, weekly, or biweekly newspaper is published in the district, the president shall provide for the publication of notice in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the district’s central administrative office is located. Notice under this subsection shall be published not earlier than the 30th day or later than the 10th day before the date of the hearing.

(c)

The notice of public meeting to discuss and adopt the budget and the proposed tax rate may not be smaller than one-quarter page of a standard-size or a tabloid-size newspaper, and the headline on the notice must be in 18-point or larger type. Subject to Subsection (d), the notice must:

(1)

contain a statement in the following form:
“The (name of school district) will hold a public meeting at (time, date, year) in (name of room, building, physical location, city, state). The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the school district’s budget that will determine the tax rate that will be adopted. Public participation in the discussion is invited.” The statement of the purpose of the meeting must be in bold type. In reduced type, the notice must state: “The tax rate that is ultimately adopted at this meeting or at a separate meeting at a later date may not exceed the proposed rate shown below unless the district publishes a revised notice containing the same information and comparisons set out below and holds another public meeting to discuss the revised notice.”;

(2)

contain a section entitled “Comparison of Proposed Budget with Last Year’s Budget,” which must show the difference, expressed as a percent increase or decrease, as applicable, in the amounts budgeted for the preceding fiscal year and the amount budgeted for the fiscal year that begins in the current tax year for each of the following:

(A)

maintenance and operations;

(B)

debt service; and

(C)

total expenditures;

(3)

contain a section entitled “Total Appraised Value and Total Taxable Value,” which must show the total appraised value and the total taxable value of all property and the total appraised value and the total taxable value of new property taxable by the district in the preceding tax year and the current tax year as calculated under Section 26.04 (Submission of Roll to Governing Body; No-new-revenue and Voter-approval Tax Rates), Tax Code;

(4)

contain a statement of the total amount of the outstanding and unpaid bonded indebtedness of the school district;

(5)

contain a section entitled “Comparison of Proposed Rates with Last Year’s Rates,” which must:

(A)

show in rows the tax rates described by Subparagraphs (i)-(iii), expressed as amounts per $100 valuation of property, for columns entitled “Maintenance & Operations,” “Interest & Sinking Fund,” and “Total,” which is the sum of “Maintenance & Operations” and “Interest & Sinking Fund”:

(i)

the school district’s “Last Year’s Rate”;

(ii)

the “Rate to Maintain Same Level of Maintenance & Operations Revenue & Pay Debt Service,” which:
(a)
in the case of “Maintenance & Operations,” is the tax rate that, when applied to the current taxable value for the district, as certified by the chief appraiser under Section 26.01 (Submission of Rolls to Taxing Units), Tax Code, and as adjusted to reflect changes made by the chief appraiser as of the time the notice is prepared, would impose taxes in an amount that, when added to state funds to be distributed to the district under Chapter 48 (Foundation School Program), would provide the same amount of maintenance and operations taxes and state funds distributed under Chapter 48 (Foundation School Program) per student in average daily attendance for the applicable school year that was available to the district in the preceding school year; and
(b)
in the case of “Interest & Sinking Fund,” is the tax rate that, when applied to the current taxable value for the district, as certified by the chief appraiser under Section 26.01 (Submission of Rolls to Taxing Units), Tax Code, and as adjusted to reflect changes made by the chief appraiser as of the time the notice is prepared, and when multiplied by the district’s anticipated collection rate, would impose taxes in an amount that, when added to state funds to be distributed to the district under Chapter 46 (Assistance With Instructional Facilities and Payment of Existing Debt) and any excess taxes collected to service the district’s debt during the preceding tax year but not used for that purpose during that year, would provide the amount required to service the district’s debt; and

(iii)

the “Proposed Rate”;

(B)

contain fourth and fifth columns aligned with the columns required by Paragraph (A) that show, for each row required by Paragraph (A):

(i)

the “Local Revenue per Student,” which is computed by multiplying the district’s total taxable value of property, as certified by the chief appraiser for the applicable school year under Section 26.01 (Submission of Rolls to Taxing Units), Tax Code, and as adjusted to reflect changes made by the chief appraiser as of the time the notice is prepared, by the total tax rate, and dividing the product by the number of students in average daily attendance in the district for the applicable school year; and

(ii)

the “State Revenue per Student,” which is computed by determining the amount of state aid received or to be received by the district under Chapters 43 (Permanent School Fund and Available School Fund), 46 (Assistance With Instructional Facilities and Payment of Existing Debt), and 48 (Foundation School Program) and dividing that amount by the number of students in average daily attendance in the district for the applicable school year; and

(C)

contain an asterisk after each calculation for “Interest & Sinking Fund” and a footnote to the section that, in reduced type, states “The Interest & Sinking Fund tax revenue is used to pay for bonded indebtedness on construction, equipment, or both. The bonds, and the tax rate necessary to pay those bonds, were approved by the voters of this district.”;

(6)

contain a section entitled “Comparison of Proposed Levy with Last Year’s Levy on Average Residence,” which must:

(A)

show in rows the information described by Subparagraphs (i)-(iv), rounded to the nearest dollar, for columns entitled “Last Year” and “This Year”:

(i)

“Average Market Value of Residences,” determined using the same group of residences for each year;

(ii)

“Average Taxable Value of Residences,” determined after taking into account the limitation on the appraised value of residences under Section 23.23 (Limitation on Appraised Value of Residence Homestead), Tax Code, and after subtracting all homestead exemptions applicable in each year, other than exemptions available only to disabled persons or persons 65 years of age or older or their surviving spouses, and using the same group of residences for each year;

(iii)

“Last Year’s Rate Versus Proposed Rate per $100 Value”; and

(iv)

“Taxes Due on Average Residence,” determined using the same group of residences for each year; and

(B)

contain the following information: “Increase (Decrease) in Taxes” expressed in dollars and cents, which is computed by subtracting the “Taxes Due on Average Residence” for the preceding tax year from the “Taxes Due on Average Residence” for the current tax year;

(7)

contain the following statement in bold print: “Under state law, the dollar amount of school taxes imposed on the residence of a person 65 years of age or older or of the surviving spouse of such a person, if the surviving spouse was 55 years of age or older when the person died, may not be increased above the amount paid in the first year after the person turned 65, regardless of changes in tax rate or property value.”;

(8)

contain the following statement in bold print: "Notice of Voter-Approval Rate: The highest tax rate the district can adopt before requiring voter approval at an election is (the school district voter-approval rate determined under Section 26.08 (Automatic Election to Approve Tax Rate of School District), Tax Code). This election will be automatically held if the district adopts a rate in excess of the voter-approval rate of (the school district voter-approval rate)."; and

(9)

contain a section entitled “Fund Balances,” which must include the estimated amount of interest and sinking fund balances and the estimated amount of maintenance and operation or general fund balances remaining at the end of the current fiscal year that are not encumbered with or by corresponding debt obligation, less estimated funds necessary for the operation of the district before the receipt of the first payment under Chapter 48 (Foundation School Program) in the succeeding school year.

(c-1)

The notice described by Subsection (c) must state in a distinct row or on a separate or individual line for each of the following taxes:

(1)

the proposed rate of the school district’s maintenance tax described by Section 45.003 (Bond and Tax Elections), under the heading “Maintenance Tax”; and

(2)

if the school district has issued ad valorem tax bonds under Section 45.001 (Bonds and Bond Taxes), the proposed rate of the tax to pay for the bonds, under the heading “School Debt Service Tax Approved by Local Voters.”

(c-2)

The notice described by Subsection (c) must include a statement that a school district may not increase the district’s maintenance and operations tax rate to create a surplus in maintenance and operations tax revenue for the purpose of paying the district’s debt service.

(d)

The comptroller shall prescribe the language and format to be used in the part of the notice required by Subsection (c). A notice under Subsection (c) is not valid if it does not substantially conform to the language and format prescribed by the comptroller under this subsection.

(e)

A person who owns taxable property in a school district is entitled to an injunction restraining the collection of taxes by the district if the district has not complied with the requirements of Subsections (b), (c), (c-1), (c-2), and (d), and, if applicable, Subsection (i), and the failure to comply was not in good faith. An action to enjoin the collection of taxes must be filed before the date the district delivers substantially all of its tax bills.

(f)

The board of trustees, at the meeting called for that purpose, shall adopt a budget to cover all expenditures for the school district for the next succeeding fiscal year. Any taxpayer of the district may be present and participate in the meeting.

(g)

The budget must be adopted before the adoption of the tax rate for the tax year in which the fiscal year covered by the budget begins.

(g-1)

If the rate calculated under Subsection (c)(5)(A)(ii)(b) decreases after the publication of the notice required by this section, the president is not required to publish another notice or call another meeting to discuss and adopt the budget and the proposed lower tax rate.

(h)

Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a school district with a fiscal year beginning July 1 may use the certified estimate of the taxable value of district property required by Section 26.01 (Submission of Rolls to Taxing Units)(e), Tax Code, in preparing the notice required by this section if the district does not receive on or before June 7 the certified appraisal roll for the district required by Section 26.01 (Submission of Rolls to Taxing Units)(a), Tax Code.

(i)

A school district that uses a certified estimate, as authorized by Subsection (h), may adopt a budget at the public meeting designated in the notice prepared using the estimate, but the district may not adopt a tax rate before the district receives the certified appraisal roll for the district required by Section 26.01 (Submission of Rolls to Taxing Units)(a), Tax Code. After receipt of the certified appraisal roll, the district must publish a revised notice and hold another public meeting before the district may adopt a tax rate that exceeds:

(1)

the rate proposed in the notice prepared using the estimate; or

(2)

the district’s voter-approval rate determined under Section 26.08 (Automatic Election to Approve Tax Rate of School District), Tax Code, using the certified appraisal roll.

(j)

Notwithstanding Subsections (g), (h), and (i), a school district may adopt a budget after the district adopts a tax rate for the tax year in which the fiscal year covered by the budget begins if the district elects to adopt a tax rate before receiving the certified appraisal roll for the district as provided by Section 26.05 (Tax Rate)(g), Tax Code. If a school district elects to adopt a tax rate before adopting a budget, the district must publish notice and hold a meeting for the purpose of discussing the proposed tax rate as provided by this section. Following adoption of the tax rate, the district must publish notice and hold another public meeting before the district may adopt a budget. The comptroller shall prescribe the language and format to be used in the notices. The school district may use the certified estimate of taxable value in preparing a notice under this subsection.
Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 398, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 898, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Amended by:
Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 807 (S.B. 567), Sec. 2, eff. June 17, 2005.
Acts 2006, 79th Leg., 3rd C.S., Ch. 5 (H.B. 1), Sec. 1.11, eff. May 31, 2006.
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1328 (H.B. 3646), Sec. 66, eff. September 1, 2009.
Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 57.27, eff. September 28, 2011.
Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 943 (H.B. 3), Sec. 1.006, eff. September 1, 2019.
Source

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Jun. 7, 2021