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Current Tax Rate

Maintenance & Operations vs. Debt Service

A school district’s tax rate consists of two parts: maintenance and operations (M&O), and debt service (I&S). Maintenance and operations taxes fund the general operating fund: salaries, supplies, utilities, insurance, equipment and the other costs of day-to-day operations. The debt service tax pays off school bonds, somewhat like paying off the mortgage on a house.

Effective Tax Rate

Comal ISD grants residents an additional 20 percent homestead exemption on top of the normal $25,000 homestead exemption granted by the state. The following chart illustrates how this additional exemption in effect lowers the tax rate for a homeowner with a $215,000 home.

tax rate graphic
 
Taxable Revenue Sources

An important factor for school districts is the make-up of the local tax base. Nearly 50 percent of Comal ISD’s tax base comes from commercial property. This has a profound impact on the district’s finances. Commercial property provides income that supports schools without an accompanying increase in enrollment. Single-family homes, on the other hand, yield children who populate public schools.

Trend of Falling Tax Rates

Over the past 10 years, tax rates in Comal ISD have steadily fallen from a high of $1.83 in 2004, to $1.43 in 2014, a $.40 reduction. The only two years during this period where taxes went up were in 2011 and 2012, when the debt service rate was increased.

It was during this two year period that property values went down as a result of the economic recession that began in 2008. By law, the district must set a minimum debt service tax rate to cover its debt obligation for that fiscal year. Because of the lower property values in 2011 and 2012, the district was forced to raise the debt service tax rate to cover its obligation.
 
Trend of Increasing Assessed Values

The foundation of school finance is a local district’s tax base — the cumulative current value of all of the property within its geographic boundaries. In the last 10 years, Comal ISD’s tax base has more than doubled — from $4.2 billion in 2004 to nearly $12 billion this year.

Again, with the exception of 2011 and 2012, the district’s assessed value has increased every year. Had the economy not suffered and taxable values decreased, then the district would not have been forced to increase the Debt Service tax rate.
 
County Tax Office Homepages
 
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