Citizens across the state are concerned about their growing property tax bills, and school district taxes may be contributing to that hefty bill more than homeowners realize. 

The Texas Public Policy Foundation reported school district taxes make up a significant portion of property tax bills. In 2019, taxes from school districts made up more than 53 percent of the entire state’s property tax burden. 

According to data from the Dallas Central Appraisal District, these five  Dallas County school districts show the highest increases in their tax bills for the average homeowner from 2013 to 2020. 

  1. Lancaster ISD
  2. Mesquite ISD
  3. DeSoto ISD
  4. Grand Prairie ISD
  5. Garland ISD

In 2013, the property tax bill for the average homeowner in Lancaster ISD, located in south Dallas County, was $986. By 2020, it was $2,084, an increase of more than 111 percent. 

From 2013 to 2020, Mesquite ISD in east Dallas County saw a 90.4 percent increase of the average homeowner’s bill ($1,050 to $2,000), DeSoto ISD in southern Dallas County saw an 82.9 percent increase ($1,461 to $2,673), and Grand Prairie ISD in west Dallas County saw an 81.5 percent increase ($1,265 to $2,296).  

Rounding out the five worse school districts for tax increases is Garland ISD in north Dallas County, with a 76.3 percent increase ($1,372 to $2,419).  

“These massive tax hikes in the Dallas area [are] another indication of how property taxes have far outpaced the average Texan’s ability to pay for them as measured by population growth plus inflation of only 23 percent since 2013,” explained Vance Ginn, Ph.D., chief economist for Texas Public Policy Foundation. “The time is now for the Texas Legislature to cut property tax bills by putting most, if not all, of the $7.85 billion surplus towards buying down school district maintenance and operations property taxes. And, really, they should be finding ways to eliminate those taxes as soon as possible to cut the hefty property tax burden nearly in half.”

The district with the lowest increase was Coppell, with an increase of more than 34 percent during the same time frame.  

Coupled with school district increases is the increase from Dallas County Community College, which accounts for 65 percent for the average homeowner’s tax bill. In 2020, the average citizen paid $271 in addition to the tax burdens from all local governments.  

Both TPPF and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility have shared different ways the Texas Legislature could deliver short- and long-term property tax relief.

Below is more data on the increasing tax rates of Dallas County school districts.

Tera Collum

Tera Collum has 13 years experience as a government and economics teacher in Texas public schools. She recently was the director of The Travis Institute of Educational Policy and Teachers for Texas.