When students head back to the classroom in the fall, Port Arthur ISD is hoping more funding will be available for their education.
The school district is holding a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) on August 5th, and tonight district leaders discussed with residents where that money would be spent.
This tax rate was already voted on by the board of trustees back in June. According to Port Arthur ISD officials the rate will be a thirteen cent increase from the standard $1.04 per $100 evaluation. So $1.17 per $100.
A thirteen cent increase may not seem like much, but according to the school distinct this increase would generate an additional $4.6 million in local revenue. This revenue will go to Maintenance and Operations costs such as bilingual education, virtual schools, as well as new and renovated facilities in the district.
Also if this tax ratification passes all employees in the district will receive a salary increase.
John Beard who lives in Port Arthur says he has some concerns about the increase.
“I think a tax increase is a last resort sort of thing you have to do,” said Beard. “But also I’m concerned about how the funding and money is going to be used and whether or not there will have to be another tax increase in the very near future. That concerns me because that hurts the economy but it also hurts people's pocket books.”
Port Arthur ISD Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie, says the increase is necessary for the students and the community.
“We have social workers that we need to hire,” said Dr. Portierie. “We have reading coaches that we need to hire. So we are talking about ways that we can strengthen education which will benefit the community. Because if you do not educate your students your entire community dies. That’s just the bottom line.”
So what does this increase look like to the tax payer?
Dr. Porteri explained that for a $100,000 home, the increase on your taxes would be
$97.50. Or around $8 more a month.
Port Arthur ISD plans to hold more of these meetings in the future to address concerns before the August 5th election.