Pascagoula School District may appeal Chevron tax ruling - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula School District may appeal Chevron tax ruling

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - "My reaction to the ruling is I still do not see the fairness," Pascagoula Schools Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich said of having to share millions of Chevron property tax dollars.

He said the recent ruling by a Jones County Chancery judge is a financial blow to his district.

"It is 71 percent of our future ad valorem tax collection is basically what we stand to lose." Rodolfich said.

For 40 years, Chevron has been pumping money into the Pascagoula School District. In 2007, a new law changed that. Now, any tax dollars from Chevron's future oil expansions will have to be spilt with Moss Point, Ocean Springs, and Jackson County schools.

"There are restaurant taxes in Ocean Springs, and we eat in Ocean Springs. Why not share the wealth for that additional tax revenue? It is same concept," Rodolfich said.

The Pascagoula School District fought it out in court, but a Jones County Chancery judge upheld the law.

Pascagoula's loss is a gain for the Jackson County School District. Superintendent Dr. Barry Amacker said with more than 9,000 students and a shrinking budget, every extra dollar will help.

"It will be nice to have a little extra wiggle room," Dr. Amacker said.

Amacker said, according to the statue, the property tax will be spilt by student population: Moss Point gets 12 percent, Ocean Springs 22 percent, Pascagoula 29 percent, and Jackson County gets 37 percent.

"Everybody gets more. The Pascagoula School District continues to get the $14.9 million they have been getting, plus another $3 million on top of that."

Rodolfich said any time money is taken away from a school district, it hurts education. He said the district still can't believe the ruling is fair.

"I think the law didn't have a lot of thought put into it," Rodolfich said.

The school districts are hoping to gain tax dollars from the $1.1 billion Gulf Liquefied Natural Gas Plant under construction next to Chevron Refinery. It should be operating by next year.

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