Across the state, public schools have been the hardest hit by these lawsuits.
This is not the first lawsuit Flint Hills has filed against the Appraisal District. It is the third lawsuit filed in the past three years, which has put a subsequent strain on Tuloso Midway ISD’s budget.
Flint Hills is the largest taxpayer for the school district. In 2017, the refinery paid only a percentage of their property taxes based on an old property valuation, which is allowed by the state.
This situation has contributed to a budget shortfall, which led TMISD to make tough decisions. Just last month, the district had to cut back on school buses and teacher raises because of the legal dispute.
The interim superintendent worries this could affect the school district’s academic reputation.
“Without that, there’s no incentive for anyone to live in our community, so that makes it really tough for us,” interim superintendent Rodney Sumner said.
Ronnie Canales is the chief appraiser with the Nueces County Appraisal District, and said property tax rates for local refineries are justified by the fluctuation of the oil industry in recent years.
“Basically we’re looking at the fact that oil and gas is a big number today. There’s a lot of profit in there right now,” Canales said.
Below is a written statement sent to KRIS 6 News by a Flint Hills spokesperson:
“The court petition was filed simply to protect our legal rights to challenge the 2018 valuations by the statutory deadline. If our values remain in line with other local refineries, there will be no need to proceed with this matter.”