San Marcos ACCess officials formally declared its intention to seek annexation into the Austin Community College District last week.
Supporters of annexing San Marcos CISD into the Austin Community College (ACC) District have been given an extended deadline for turning in petition signatures for the purpose of putting the issue on the November ballot.
ACC now is giving San Marcos ACCess until May 3 to submit the petition signatures. The original deadline was April 9, which was last Friday.
Officials at ACC and San Marcos ACCess said that the late start to the San Marcos petition drive, combined with multiple ACC annexation efforts in Central Texas, account for the deadline shift.
ACC Media Relations Coordinator Alexis Patterson said the original April 9 deadline was an ACC internal deadline, which was not legally binding. San Marcos ACCess co-chair Kim Porterfield said the late start to the local effort, which didn’t begin until Feb. 24, factored into the extended deadline.
“We worked it out with them,” Porterfield said.
San Marcos ACCess could have begun collecting signatures as early as Nov. 16. However, San Marcos ACCess delayed the drive to work on addressing perception issues that came up in 2006, when the San Marcos CISD effort to join ACC was thwarted by the revelation of signature fraud by the firm hired to collect signatures. San Marcos ACCess is using no outside sources to collect signatures on the present drive.
San Marcos CISD is one of five in Central Texas undertaking efforts to join the ACC district. The others are Hays CISD, Bastrop ISD, Elgin ISD and McDade ISD.
“We had a suggested timeline for submitting signatures, and at one time April 9 had been shown as the date,” said ACC Media Relations Coordinator Alexis Patterson about the San Marcos effort. ” … What happened in this case was that with five ISDs undertaking annexation efforts, the (ACC) governmental and community relations staff could not turn around review of that many petitions all at once, so we revised our timeline just to allow for better work distribution among the staff.”
San Marcos ACCess officials appeared before the ACC trustees on April 5 to formally declare its intention to seek annexation. Porterfield said the San Marcos effort is still collecting signatures and will need about 1,800 of them to go on the ballot.
Following the May 3 deadline, said Patterson, it is possible the ACC trustees will take further action on the San Marcos effort at their May 17 meeting. At that point, the signatures could be certified, which would put ACC on San Marcos CISD ballots in November.
The ACC trustees certified Bastrop ISD petitions on April 5, meaning annexation will go before Bastrop-area voters in November. ACC verified 1,652 Bastrop signatures, which, according to ACC, is “significantly above what is required by the education code.”
Should voters decide to become part of the ACC district, homeowners would pay a property tax currently set at 9.46 cents per $100 valuation,, with a standard $5,000 homestead exemption plus a $105,000 exemption for homeowners older than 65 and persons with disabilities. In exchange, students within the district would pay the in-district tuition rate of $39 per credit hour, rather than the out-of-district rate, which is $137 per hour.
ACC also has proposed to build a campus that could expand to eight buildings on the east side of San Marcos, near San Marcos High School.Email | Print