2015 Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. 1 (2015)

handle is hein.sag/sagtx0217 and id is 1 raw text is: 

                                      January 20, 2015

 Mr. Michael Williams                           Opinion No. KP-0001
 Commissioner of Education
 Texas Education Agency                         Re: Whether an independent school district
 1701 North Congress Avenue                     may use the certified estimate of property tax
 Austin, Texas 78701-1494                       values to adopt a tax rate after adopting its
                                                budget (RQ-1211-GA)

Dear Commissioner Williams:

       Your question concerns the adoption of a school district's budget and tax rate and the
scheduling of tax ratification elections ('TRE's).''1 Each year, the board of trustees of an
independent school district must adopt a budget and a tax rate for the next fiscal year. See generally
TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN.  44.004 (West 2012); TEX. TAX CODE ANN.  26.05 (West Supp. 2014).
If a school district adopts a tax rate that exceeds its rollback rate, the adopted rate must be approved
by the district's voters through a TRE. TEX. TAX CODE ANN.  26.08(a) (West Supp. 2014). In a
traditional tax rate adoption process, a school district must use the chief appraiser's certified
appraisal roll, which by law must be certified by July 25, in order to calculate the proposed tax
rate. Id.  26.01(a), .05(a). You tell us, however, that this year the Harris County Appraisal
District does not expect to provide the certified appraisal roll to school districts until the last week
in August, which precludes the use of the traditional tax timetable to schedule the TRE in time
for the election to occur in conjunction with the November uniform election date.2 Request Letter
at 3.

       Both the Tax Code and the Education Code contemplate an alternative process in which
school districts may use a certified estimate of property tax values, rather than the final certified
appraisal roll, to calculate the proposed tax rate. See TEX. EDUC. CODE ANN.  44.004(h) (West
2012); TEX. TAX CODE ANN.  26.01(e) (West Supp. 2014). You ask specifically about subsection
44.0040) of the Education Code, which provides in pertinent part:

       'Letter from Mr. Michael Williams, Comm'r of Educ., Tex. Educ. Agency, to Hon. Greg Abbott, Tex. Att'y
Gen. at 1 (July 9, 2014), http://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/opinion/requests-for-opinion-rqs (Request Letter).
       2A TRE must be held between 30 and 90 days after the adoption of a higher tax rate. TEX. TAX CODE ANN.
 26.08(b) (West Supp. 2014), If the November uniform election date falls within this time period, the TRE must be
held on the uniform election date. Id; see also TEX. ELEC. CODE ANN.  41.001(b)(6) (West Supp. 2014). If the
uniform election date falls outside the window, a TRE is conducted on a different election date. TEX. TAX CODE ANN.
 26.08(b) (West Supp. 2014).

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