The Point Isabel Independent School District is counting on big returns from SpaceX.
The land where SpaceX will build a launch site is within the PIISD’s tax zone. Property taxes will go to PIISD. The company broke ground Monday. PIISD Superintendent Dr. Lisa Garcia said the district gave SpaceX an incentive to build. The district will not tax the company for anything more than $20 million during the next 10 years.
“It’s good incentive for the company to locate in South Texas. At the same time, it provides the school district the opportunity to increase tax revue on property that was completely undeveloped,” Garcia said. The school district estimates they will net about $5 million during the next 10 years. Half of that will go back to the state as part of the re-capture or Robin Hood plan.
Students are excited with the prospect of watching rockets launch from across the Brownsville Ship Channel. “I hope to get an internship there,” PIISD ninth-grader Madison Bickerton said.
The extra tax money will benefit the district, Garcia said. The district has four schools with a total enrollment of just under 2,600. Garcia said the district may buy new buses with the extra money. “A school bus is about $92,000. Every year we try to buy one, and every year we could use three or four,” Garcia said. She also wants to upgrade facilities that rust and deteriorate quickly.
“We’re a coastal community. We have extreme conditions of salt air, wind and rain,” Garcia said. Some of the money will be spent inside the classrooms. Garcia said most of the children in her schools live near the poverty level. The impact of the new money will be as small as adding one more bus, and as large as graduating a future rocket scientist.
“Two years from now, we can be sitting in Tarpon Stadium where we’re very accustomed to watching our Tarpons win football games, (watching) a rocket launch over the back of the scoreboard because that’s going to be front-row seats,” Garcia said.