The attorney general was asked to render an opinion about whether an appraisal district has the authority to modify the boundary of a school district upon receipt of information suggesting the survey line is inaccurate. The basis for the requested opinion was a dispute that arose regarding a boundary line between Magnolia ISD and Montgomery ISD. The recognized boundary line between the districts was set by survey lines and had not been changed for at least 60 years. A developer recently provided information to the appraisal district suggesting that one of the survey lines marking the boundaries between the two districts was incorrect, prompting the district to move a portion of the survey line. This resulted in annexation of a portion of Magnolia ISD territory to Montgomery ISD. The appraisal district did not seek approval from either school district before it made this change.

The attorney general noted that there is a process set out in the Texas Education Code by which a school district may detach or annex territory between school districts. Under this process, the appraisal district has no authority to detach property from one school district and transfer it to another. However, this was not a situation involving a detachment or annexation. Rather, it involved the accuracy of a survey line. The attorney general ruled that an appraisal district does not have authority to determine or alter the boundary of a school district. Even if there were an error in the survey line, the applicable statutes require a school district to determine where the physical boundaries of the district exist, not the appraisal district. Opinions of the attorney general are not binding legal directives, but they are considered to be very reliable indicators of how a court would rule if presented with a similar issue.