In a statement, Austin ISD Chief of Business and Operations Nicole Conley said the school district is working to determine the possible effect of this change.
“We greatly understand the need for property tax relief,” Conley said. “Though we understand why the Austin Board of Realtors has taken such measures, we also realize this could reduce revenue growth for local school districts. It could also potentially shift more funding burden to the state, and create more instability in public education funding.”
Representatives from Dripping Springs ISD, Eanes ISD, Elgin ISD, Lake Travis ISD, Leander ISD, Marble Falls ISD, Pflugerville ISD and Round Rock ISD wrote they “were shocked and dismayed by the late notice” provided by TCAD regarding the May cease and desist order” in their joint letter.
The ABoR disputes that the cease-and-desist order will negatively affect school districts.
“TCAD can create statistically sound models for the bulk appraisals of residential property using the rendered data they collect,” ABoR said in its Feb. 13 statement. “It’s unfortunate that TCAD is threatening to stop the reappraisal process at the expense of our schools.”
If appraisal values do not change, these entities can still set the tax rate at whatever increases revenue by 3.5% year over year, the maximum allowed under a new state law.
But school districts have a different formula for calculating local property tax rates. As a result, the TCAD predicts the order will negatively affect school districts in Travis County.
“In general, if your state value is higher [than the appraisal district’s], your state funding goes down,” said Laurie Mann, a policy adviser in the property tax assistance division.
Without public records detailing sales prices, appraisers may rely on market data in conjunction with other sources, such as deeds, protest hearings and mailed questionnaires.
Without access to market data, the TCAD said it has only been able to obtain data for 15% of sales made in 2019, compared to 98% of those made in 2018.
"You shouldn't have to beg and plea to get the information that you need to do your job," said Bruce Elfant, Travis County's tax assessor-collector. "This is a horrible situation we're in."