MARK PORTERIE: Motiva’s $17M payment benefits Port Arthur schools, shows community spirit

Published 3:02 pm Thursday, July 25, 2019

In an atmosphere where compromise and big picture thinking seem to be nonexistent, it is refreshing to know that the Port Arthur Independent School District can come together with its business neighbors to work together for the common good of the children we serve.

Earlier this year, the district was made aware of the valuation appeal litigation between Motiva and the Jefferson County Appraisal District.

Although PAISD was never a party to this suit, the outcome directly affects the wellbeing of the 8,300 students and their parents who are counting on the school district to provide a quality education.

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The direct impact of the appeal would result in an immediate reduction in anticipated tax revenue for the district. This amount represents a loss of the total funds for PAISD.

PAISD began a campaign to make the community aware of the devastating effects this shortfall would have on the educational environment. As the community became more aware of the district’s plight, so did Motiva executives.

Motiva reached out to the district to understand the role local funds play in the overall state financing of our public-school system. Together, we sought a way for Motiva to continue exercising the right of every taxpayer to contest the appraised value placed on his or her property.

In taking a closer, more personal look at the plight that Motiva’s actions would unintentionally cause the district, we were able to reach an agreement that would preserve the interests of all true parties involved: the school district and the taxpayer (Motiva).

Our community rallied and Motiva responded as we would want a good neighbor to do. The lawsuit is still pending, the Jefferson County Appraisal District and Motiva are still in litigation concerning the projected values of facilities owned by Motiva within Jefferson County.

However, the payment of $17 million by Motiva to the Jefferson County Tax Assessor has ensured that the Port Arthur Independent School District will be able to continue providing for the needs of its students.

We thank all of the professionals who took out the notion of “what is best for me” and substituted that with “what is best for all.”

Dr. Mark Porterie is superintendent for the Port Arthur Independent School District