PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A court battle is looming, pitting the Pascagoula-Gautier School District against the City of Pascagoula. This is after the city council rejected a request by the school district for a 4 mil tax increase that would have brought in an additional $1.3 million a year.
School officials say the money is needed to make up for the loss of $2.5 million in industrial taxes over the past year.
With special hired attorney Jim Young joining by conference call, board members went into executive session. What they decided behind closes doors came as no surprise. Board member Dan Marks made the announcement.
"The school board met and decided to pursue litigation to have the city put on the required mils," said Marks.
Some board members, like Mike Concannon, believe the decision to head to court was an easy one to make.
"Our responsibility is to develop to satisfy the requirements of our education system and what our students need," Concannon explained.
Heading to court over school taxes is highly unusual. That's the opinion of Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich.
"I've been in this position for 13 years, and it's never happened in 13 years I've been here. We've always had a good, cooperative relationship with our people who work with us on the other side of government," said Rodolfich.
Rodolfich hinted that relationship seems to have gotten testy.
"We're going to build the best, safest places for children to attend school, and if the city has a lower standard for the people of this community, that's the city's prerogative," said Rodolfich.
While school board officials and officials with the City of Pascagoula say this is strictly a business decision, nothing personal at all, you do get the feeling that it is just a little bit personal, according to Concannon.
"Did it offend me? Yes, because they're not supporting the kids. But, that is a prevalent situation right now across all government is to reduce taxes and start hurting people," said Concannon.
With the money needed now, will a possibly lengthy court case cause problems?
"We have contingencies in place that we can take care of that. We'll manage, we always have," said Rodolfich.
At this time, no hearing date has been set on the pending court case. It could be in a few days, or a few weeks.