, Port Arthur, Texas

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September 26, 2012

PAISD tax increase fails

PORT ARTHUR — Port Arthur Independent School District’s proposed tax rate increase failed by a large margin after the final votes were tallied last night.

Slightly more than 79 percent of voters cast a ballot against the election, while 20.7 percent approved it. There were 2,020 votes against the increase and 534 votes for it.

Current and former PAISD trustees gathered at the Holiday Inn on Jimmy Johnson Boulevard to announce the results and provide comments on how the district will move forward. Superintendent Johnny Brown said he is disappointed but not discouraged.

“What we’re faced with now is to go back to the table to think about what we can do to move forward in support of our children,” he said. “We’ll have to work with the school board in making some difficult decisions over the next few days, weeks and months.”

PAISD proposed to raise its property tax rate of $1.04 per $100 assessed to $1.17 to $100, an increase that would have given the district an additional $5.5 million in revenue at the current appraised values.

The funds would have gone toward district-wide raises ($1.3 million), new buses and transportation repairs ($750,000), facility maintenance ($750,000), and a $3 million payment for the Valero lawsuit.

The transportation upgrades, facility repairs, and salary raises are now off the table for the district. The lawsuit payment will come from PAISD’s general fund balance.

“There are some services that will be reduced,” Brown said. “There are some options we were hoping we would have that we no longer have.”

Of the 28,642 residents registered to vote in the election, 2,554 cast a ballot. Brown said he wished more people had voted.

“I can assure this community that we heard you,” Brown said. “We understand that, to many out there, this what not the right time or plan.”

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