Hearne ISD hires superintendent, addresses GATX expansion

HEARNE, Tex. (KBTX) - The Hearne ISD school board met Monday night to formally hire Dr. Adrain Johnson as the district's permanent superintendent.

The board voted 4-2 to accept the terms of Johnson's contract.

The board also discussed the potential of granting a tax abatement to a local rail car company looking to expand.

Last month, General American Transportation Corporation, also known as GATX, asked the board to grant the abatement for ten years on the company's new expansion. In return, GATX plans to help students in the district get started in the welding industry.

At Monday's meeting, Johnson informed the board that districts are currently not allowed to authorize an abatement. Instead, the board decided to look into other alternatives.

They voted to have a district attorney help them find a legal way to give GATX a tax break through a mutually beneficial program.

"There is a certain amount of taxes that they do pay on their property, but then there is an amount that is tax free through this tax credit," said Johnson. "The state has a method to credit the money the district is losing in a foundation program."

Monday night's meeting was also the first since school board member Samantha Salazar was arrested on a lottery fraud charge.

Although she did not attend the meeting, an attorney for the district said Salazar is in good standing with the board, and there is no action to be taken at this time.