An original petition filed by the TCTU alleges that the RRISD board of trustees acted in "bad faith" when five of its members voted to approve its tax rate during a Sept. 14 meeting. The suit also alleges that the board acted inappropriately in limiting available seating and used district police improperly to enforce a capacity restriction.
The suit, filed in Travis County district court, alleges the board violated the tax code by not having enough board members vote to ratify the tax rate. Two of the board's seven members were absent, resulting in a 4-1 vote, which the lawsuit alleges failed to meet the threshold of 60% of the board approving the measure—60% of seven is 4.2. The TCTU also claims limiting seating in the meeting room violates the Opens Meeting Act.
Community Impact Newspaper previously reported that capacity had been limited for seating inside the lecture hall for three meetings up to that point, with the meeting streamed to the cafeteria and overflow seating added to allow for social distancing, according to the board. The practice is in line with what several neighboring districts did durning the pandemic.
The board approved a rate total of $1.1336 per $100 of valuation Sept. 14. The rate is made up of a general operating rate of $0.8936 and a $0.24 rate for debt service. According to the district, that is a $0.0876 decrease from the previous year's tax rate. An increase in property values, however, means that the average homeowner within the district's bounds will see an increase of $27 annually on their tax bill from RRISD.
Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, RRISD public affairs and communications manager, told Community Impact Newspaper that the district had not yet been served and had no comment regarding the suit.