Preliminary Tax Rates
TEA released the preliminary maximum compressed tax rates (MCR) for school districts’ tier one M&O tax rates required under HB 3 for the 2020 tax year (2020-2021 school year). In case you missed it, you can access that To the Administrator Addressed communication here. You can see the list of all preliminary tax rates to look up your own or any district’s statewide.  

These rates are preliminary and subject to appeal. If your district wishes to appeal its preliminary rate, appeals must be received by August 11, 2020. For any district that does not appeal, the preliminary rate will become final. Districts that did not submit data for the property value survey were assigned the state compression rate of $0.9164. The same can be said for any district that submitted value growth that was less than the state average.

Almost half the districts in the state (47%) received the state rate $0.9164. The average rate from the list of preliminary rates is $0.8934. There were 75 districts that received the lowest possible rate of $0.8247. The MCR is subject to both a floor and a ceiling due to the equity band written into the law to maintain equity/similar tax effort. No district can have a MCR that is less than 90% of the state rate. 

So now you take your Tier 1 MCR and add your Tier 2 pennies to determine your M&O tax rate. You can add last year’s Tier 2 pennies, you can add one extra penny if you were not already accessing five golden pennies, or you can choose to call for an election to access more than a total of five Tier 2 pennies. Keep in mind that any district that is considering the pursuit of a Voter-Approval Tax Rate (VATR) Election must post notice by TODAY in order to publish intent to conduct the meeting to call for such an election for the minimum 10 days before such a meeting is held.  

If you are a Chapter 49 district, you must indicate how you intend to reduce your local revenue in excess of entitlement for the 2020-2021 school year through the online FSP system. You may not adopt a tax rate for tax year 2020 until you have received certification from TEA that you have reduced your local revenue in excess of entitlement for the 2020-2021 school year. Most of you have already done this (based on the July 15 letter), but there are about 25% of you who have not. This is a new step that Chapter 49 districts must take before the adoption of the tax rate, so please check to ensure you have received your certification before adopting your tax rate.

For more details on the timeline for tax rates and elections, you can see our brief on School District Budget, Tax Rate, and Election Timeline & Procedures.

Coronavirus Relief Fund for LEAs
Earlier this week, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) released the long-awaited information regarding the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for school districts, which provides funding to cover up to 75% of eligible expenditures. Allowable uses of the funds include necessary expenditures related to the pandemic that incurred between March 1 and May 20 of this year. These expenses could be related to distance learning (including technology), payroll and benefits of staff responsible for developing online learning or otherwise continuing instruction or other responses to the COVID-19 related closures.

There is a cap for how much each school district may receive. Reimbursement amounts may not exceed the greater of either $50,000 or $250 per district comp ed student. Districts must apply for this reimbursement by September 30. For more information please see: 

Membership Matters
We are so grateful for each of you as members of the Texas School Coalition, and we enjoy working with you as we remain committed to sustainable, meaningful investments in all Texas students. We hope we can count on your continued commitment in the 2020-21 school year. Invoices for membership during the upcoming school year will be sent electronically next week.

Included with that invoice will be information about reporting to keep your district within compliance of HB 1495, passed during the 86th Legislative Session. For your reference, that information is provided here as well.

Please contact Christy Rome at or 512-658-7498 if you have any questions.
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