2009-04-09 / Opinion

PAEF makes a big difference

Mary Henkel Judson

Mary Henkel Judson is editor and copublisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at southjetty@centurytel.net, (361) 49-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373. Mary Henkel Judson is editor and copublisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at southjetty@centurytel.net, (361) 49-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373. Kudos to the Port Aransas Education Foundation and to the businesses, individuals and foundations that supported their mission to improve the education experience for students in the Port Aransas Independent School District.

Last week, nearly $60,000 in grants was awarded to teachers and faculty to fund specific equipment, programs, field trips and training. All of that adds up to a better education for students attending Port Aransas ISD. That means we graduate students who are better prepared for the next level, whether it is higher education or the work force. And that means our students stand a better chance of succeeding in the real world.

With more than 70 cents of every dollar collected in taxes leaving the district to comply with Chapter 41, the mandate that requires property-rich school districts to share their wealth with propertypoor districts, Port Aransas ISD comes up short.

The concept of an equal education for all is good. The method by which the state seeks to achieve it is not.

But it is what it is, and the good citizens and friends of Port Aransas have again and again stepped up to fill the gaps.

In its first year, the foundation awarded slightly more than $21,000 in grants. The second year, grants totaled more than $48,000, and this year, the total was $57,458.22.

Those are incredible figures. They speak to the importance of education, and the value our community places on a good education for its students.

Those figures also tell a story of a community that is extraordinarily generous when it comes to supporting education.

Even while taxpayers are hit by rising property values that in effect increase their taxes, while the economy in general has, if nothing else, made a psychological impact that takes at least some toll on the local economy, the importance of quality education is motivation enough to dig deeper.

If you already are a supporter of the Port Aransas Education Foundation, good for you.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to support the foundation, hear this: It is one of the best bangs for your buck that you can get. Take a look at the story on Page 1A of this edition and you'll see what a contribution to the foundation can buy.

Unlike your school taxes, of which only 30 cents of every dollar stays in Port Aransas, 100 percent of what you give to the Port Aransas Education Foundation goes toward improving the education experience for students in the Port Aransas ISD.

Pay your taxes, but do yourself a favor, and support the Port Aransas Education Foundation. You can make a contribution and you can attend Mardi Gras in October, a fun time for a good cause.

To contribute, send tax-deductible donations to PAEF President Janice Roberts, P.O. Box 95, Port Aransas, TX 78373. Also, postal patrons will soon be getting a newsletter detailing the grants and giving them the opportunity to donate.

As for the Mardi Gras, the South Jetty will let you know all the details next fall. Check out the 2009 Mardi Gras by going online to www.portasouthjetty. com. Go to the archives (bottom left under Services in the menu bar) and check out the Oct. 2 edition.

Thanks to the Port Aransas Education Foundation, students in the Port Aransas ISD have the advantage of living in a village that is serious about raising the bar of their education experience.

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