Pascagoula School District wins money fight in court

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Thursday that it's unconstitutional to require Pascagoula Schools to share Chevron tax dollars with other schools. Under the law, Pascagoula was to receive just 29 percent of ad valorem money. The remaining 71 percent was to be split with Moss Point, Ocean Springs and Jackson County School districts.

Excitement echoed throughout classrooms at Pascagoula High, as news spread the legal battle to protect Chevron tax dollars was over.

"I am thrilled that Pascagoula School District keeps the funds that we deserve," teacher Mary Virginia Clause said.

A 2007 law required property tax revenue generated from Chevron's expansion facilities be pumped into all four Jackson County school districts. Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich disagreed, appealed in court, and won.

"We made very clear with the superintendents, this was not going to be a battle with superintendents, and it would be settled in the courts," Rodolfich said. "But the bottom line is the property in question is located within the school taxing area of school district, and that is why we believe we prevailed."

The superintendent acknowledged this was a long and hard fight. But he said it was all worth it, knowing that any extra money would definitely benefit the more 9,000 students in the district.

"It is relief that we stood our ground on something that we truly believed, and we were able to see it through, and it was a little bit of excitement for us."

Pascagoula's staff and students are already thinking of ways to spend the millions that will now be pumped in to the Pascagoula School District. They are talking about everything from new locker rooms to new technology.

"Some iPads, or some Kindles, or even more computers. We already have great computer labs, but it would be great to have even more," Clause said.

Thanks to this legal victory in court, all those wishes could soon be a reality in the classroom.

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