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Porterie: Tax vote benefits PAISD

Staff report

Port Arthur ISD Superintendent Mark Porterie said Tuesday night that district voters did themselves and the district’s schoolchildren a big favor with their “for” vote on a proposition to buy attendance credits from the state.

With 29 of 30 precincts reporting, the vote was 4,835 for, 2,939 against.

Port Arthur ISD is considered a “property rich,” or Chapter 41 school district because of its proximity to industrial property, such as the oil refineries, and the state mandates that wealthy systems like PAISD share its tax wealth with other, property poor, or Chapter 42, districts.

The proposition enables the ISD to buy “student attendance credits,” as if it had more students, which will keep it from losing additional tax dollars to poorer systems. Had voters voted “against” the proposition, there was a danger that the system might have taken all of the tax money from certain industries and sent them to a poorer system. That created great risk for the system.

Porterie said PAISD lost hundreds of students following Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey, and will use the attendance credits as if the system had “virtual students.”

“Taxes would have gone up,” he said. “There were real ramifications if they had voted against it.”