How is Texas' controversial school finance law working two months after the new structure went into effect? That depends on where you live.
In a nearly completed study of tax rates in the state's 1,054 districts, the Texas Comptroller's office has found that average levies increased from $1.06 per $100 of assessed valuation in 1990 to $1.20 this year.
"The idea of the new system was that the range between high and low tax rates be narrowed," said spokesman Andy Welch. "From what we are seeing, that is obviously the case."
Those figures represent the total average tax rate of all but 17 districts that have not yet filed their levies. However, the average does not reflect disparities. Consider the districts with the greatest tax cut and the biggest increase.
In Central Texas, the Blanket independent School District's overall property tax rate plunged 73.5% to $1.11 per $100 of assessed valuation this year. That is down 39 cents from the $1.51 rate the district levied in 1990.
But for the Allamoore Independent School District in far southwestern Texas, the new finance law will push the district's rate up 772% from 18 cents last year to $1.39 per $100 of assessed valuation now.
In the survey, many districts said that despite the changes, they expect tax collections to stay unchanged at better than 90%. Mr. Welch said that districts with steep increases were not as confident, noting, "The Allamoore district didn't want to make a guess."