Austin Community College President Steven Kinslow spoke recently to the San Marcos City Council. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
San Marcos supporters of bringing the Austin Community College (ACC) District into the San Marcos CISD are behind the curve but not quite out of the loop as they attempt to place the matter on the November ballot.
San Marcos ACCess, the San Marcos steering committee, missed the target is collecting the necessary signatures, about 2,000 of them, before the ACC Trustees Monday night. But the local group is getting another month.
Last week, San Marcos ACCess sent petition forms by mail to registered voters within San Marcos CISD. The seal on the back of the envelope asked that the forms be returned by May 15.
Meanwhile, Hays CISD, which submitted its signatures last month, was unanimously certified Monday by the ACC Trustees. Thus, the November ballot in Hays CISD will include a measure to bring ACC into the school district.
The San Marcos group, which could have began gathering signatures in November and started in February as it dealt with bitterness about a failed 2006 petition drive, now have missed two targets for submitting petitions. The original target was April 9, which was then extended to Monday.
Now, though, the situation moves guidelines set by ACC to a true legal deadline. ACC must certify petitions by June 11 to put San Marcos annexations on the November ballot.
ACC officials maintain that the proposed deadlines are merely suggestions, a “wish list” even.
Linda Young, special assistant to the ACC president, said the restructuring of the deadline was necessary to accommodate for the work load to her “small staff” given the five school districts are undergoing the annexation process.
“It wasn’t a deadline, it was a guideline,” Young said. “I was trying to give us a little wiggle room.”
Young said there has to be adequate time to hold public hearings and call the election, adding that legally, the ACC board must certify petitions by June 11.
“I don’t really think there’s a hold up (in getting the necessary signatures),” said steering committee chair Kim Porterfield. “It’s a process that involves educating the public and having them exercise their rights … It’s a process that takes time.”
Porterfield said the committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday, when it will account for all the received signatures and begin verifying them.
“Members of the steering committee are working on different areas of the petition drive and when, we meet later this week, we’ll have a better update,” Porterfield said.
This process is not new for San Marcos. Nor is the difficulty. In 2006, a consultant hired to gather signatures in San Marcos was found to have produced fraudulent names. ACC pulled the plug on that initiative.
Young called the failed effort in 2006 an “unpleasant situation” that trashed many hours of “hard work,” and said “it wasn’t our fault.”
Said Young, “If the people of San Marcos CISD need the services we provide and they vote to have us there, then it is important that we meet that goal.”
Five school districts are vying for annexation. Bastrop and Hays CISD have both submitted the necessary signatures and been certified by the ACC board. Hays CISD was unanimously voted up for certification Monday night. Elgin ISD, McDade ISD, and San Marcos CISD have yet to submit signatures.Email | Print