Bond lawyers expect the Texas attorney General's office to outline soon how school districts can sell notes and bonds again, while a state judge reviews a legal challenge to the latest school finance-law.
Lawyers say they are not certain what guidelines the attorney general would outline for new debt issuance, but expect such criteria would ensure the bonds are valid and uncontestable.
"If the attorney general finds a reason to begin authorizing bonds again, you can bet that some districts will want to take advantage of the interest rates," a Dallas bond lawyer said.
Since late May, the Attorney General's office has refused to authorize any local school debt for sale because of uncertainty over the outcome of a legal challenge to the new wealth-sharing school finance-law.
As a result, most districts sold debt before the cutoff.
Assistant attorney general Sheela Rai, chief of the state's public finance section, said her staff is reviewing the new law and court orders and expects to issue a directive to bond counsel soon.
She declined to say if schools will be allowed to resume debt sales.
The new system, which shifts about $600 million annually in local revenues from the state's 109 wealthiest districts to poor ones, is being challenged by poor districts, which argue that the system does not guarantee all 1,048 districts equal access to funding.
Two weeks ago, lawyers for the state asked Travis County District Judge Scott McCown, who is overseeing the case, to allow the law to take effect for the upcoming school year.
They argued that declaring the law unconstitutional would disrupt local budgets and tax levies, which are now being set for fiscal 1994, which begins Sept. 1.