San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 19th, 2010
ACC petition drive soon to start in San Marcos

021810kinslowAustin Community College District President Steven B. Kinslow spoke Thursday to a committee of the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

Associate Editor

A petition drive is soon to be announced with the goal of placing the San Marcos CISD in the Austin Community College (ACC) District through a vote this November.

San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce (SMACC) President Phyllis Snodgrass said Thursday that she expects an announcement to soon be forthcoming. Snodgrass said the drive to circulate petitions has not yet started, though the petition was available at the chamber office as of Wednesday.

Organizers must secure about 2,000 petitions by April 9 in order to have the list certified, thus continuing the process of placing the issue on the November 2010 ballot. Snodgrass said she believes the task should not be difficult, even though the local initiative is off to a late start relative to the ACC-recommended timelines, which would have allowed the petition drive to start in November.

Snodgrass said the San Marcos area already has been through the process on a more or less continuous basis since 2006, when ACC cancelled an election in San Marcos due to allegations of petition fraud.

A group of Hays CISD residents called ACCess YES! began a petition drive in November with the goal of placing an ACC campus in either Buda or Kyle. The San Marcos steering committee is called San Marcos ACCess.

Speaking Thursday to the governmental affairs committee of the SMACC, ACC President Steven B. Kinslow said he’s confident that measures in San Marcos CISD and Hays CISD will pass.

“All (ACC) annexation elections have been successful,” he said.

The projects call for a property tax increase of 9.46 cents per $100 of taxable valuation in each or either school district. In exchange, ACC will set up campuses in school districts approving annexation and students within the ACC district would pay $39 per credit hour, rather than the out-of-district rate of $137. In-district individuals also receive free access to ACC’s Early College Start Program, which allows high school students to earn up to one-year of transferable college credit before entering institutions of higher learning.

ACC has capped its maintenance and operation (M&O) tax rate at nine-cents, and an increase can only come about with voter approval. Community colleges in Texas have an average tax rate of 15 cents per $100 valuation, according to Kinslow.

Senior citizens and disabled property owners would receive a $105,000 tax exemption, along with a $5,000 homestead exemption. Seniors would also receive up to six-credit hours of free tuition contingent upon available seating.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said in a report entitled “Texas Works” that the annual economic impact of all Texans with associate degrees amounts to $10.1 billion, adding that graduates earn an average of 32 percent more than those with only the high school diploma.

Kinslow said San Marcos is “behind the eight-ball in competitiveness,” adding that an ACC campus would help attract businesses, raise the per capita income, and reduce reliance on social welfare programs.

Kinslow said Texas State and University of Texas transfer students come predominantly from ACC, and that these students perform as well or better than those who began instruction in four-year universities.

“Whether it’s a four-year degree or career training at a community college, higher education ensures the success of our children and the economic future of our state,” Combs said in a December press release.

The report executed by Combs’ office said the demand for skilled workers is not being met in Texas.

“Multiple paths to high school graduation and postsecondary training and education will help reduce the skilled-worker gap and could help reduce dropout rates,” Combs said in the report. “(The) current state policy focuses on a single path to a four-year degree. Texas population projections point to a less educated work force if the state continues on its current path, negating the economic advantage of a younger average working population … On a state level, this is about our strength as an economic powerhouse. On a personal level for all of us, this is about making the future success of every Texan our top priority.”

At least five percent of all registered voters in a school district must sign a petition in order for the ACC matter to go to an annexation vote.

Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan said that the Hays ISD has 26,482 registered voters, not including a small overlap in Travis County.

Cowan said SMCISD overlaps into three counties — Hays, Caldwell, and Guadalupe. In San Marcos, Cowan said, there are 34,252 registered voters in the district. Guadalupe County Elections Administrator Sue Basham said 2,313 registered voters are in the SMCISD, and an official at the Caldwell County Tax Office said preliminary numbers indicated 1,114 registered voters were in the SMCISD, though, the official said, there could be up to 3,000, as the SMCISD covers precincts 301 and 302 in Caldwell County. Given those numbers, San Marcos supporters would have to gather at least 1,884 signatures.

Should SMCISD or Hays CISD voters produce enough signatures to include the referendum on the November ballot, the petition lists will be submitted to Cowan. ACC will then take up the petition and verify the entries on May 7. All valid entries will then be presented to the ACC Board of Trustees on May 10, and, in June, ACC will publish a service plan. Public hearings would be held in July.

The timeline calls for the ACC Board of Trustees to call a Nov. 2 election on Aug. 16. If voters give the go-ahead, the board will canvass the election results, pass a resolution amending the boundaries, and the tuition will be adjusted on Nov. 10.

Kinslow said Hays County is inevitably growing, and having workforce potential in place is necessary.

“We’re trying to reach all people that need the college,” he said. “… If supported appropriately, community colleges can save the U.S. economy.”

Kinslow said the ACC campus in San Marcos should be open in 2014, if the vote approved ACC in November.

ACC Media Coordinator Alexis Patterson said the district has been authorized to seek property in the Hays CISD. In San Marcos, she said, local developer Randall Morris has donated 38 acres for the campus off SH 123, and ACC is in negotiations to purchase adjacent property in efforts to construct the already designed 476,000-square-foot campus structure.

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54 thoughts on “ACC petition drive soon to start in San Marcos

  1. Hopefully I won’t discover my signature has been forged on that petition, like the last one.

  2. So, a $100 more a year for a $100,000 home? For something that’s already here (ACC classes and TxState)? Not this year . . .

  3. Do not to forget the fraud and say NO to an ACC taxing district in San Marcos and Hays County. ACC perpetuated a VAST fraud of voter identification theft. It wasn’t alleged – it was fact. When confronted they tried to pass it off as a few angry individuals. When the names of voter fraud ran in to the many dozens, they pointed their fingers at the company they hired and pleaded ignorant. They cannot be trusted and only want our fat tax base. They showed no regret and skulked away waiting for us to forget. I guess two years is the going rate on apathy.

    Stealing a fundamental liberty – a American’s vote – yet showing no regret or responsibility. What does that say about ACC leadership and culture?

    Please DO NOT support this tax increase to make ACC richer and San Marcos poorer. Remember the fraud. That is who you are partnering with.

  4. I believe an ACC campus in San Marcos would be a positive development in many aspects. Citizens benefit from expanded education and training options. Businesses benefit from a higher caliber workforce. Sure, I wish we did not have to pay more taxes as a result, but this deal seems to me to be a good investment for the future of our community.

  5. I fear by writing under my real name, it will end up on the newest petition; nonetheless, there are many things we need in San Marcos, but higher education we have pretty well covered up. The entire sales story for ACC expansion is that a few kids will pay less of their own education costs, because 50,000 taxpayers will be taxed. It is a good bet that the taxes in outweigh the discounts out — it is a bad deal.

  6. You hit the nail on the head, John.

    I may be termed “selfish” by the liberal elite out there, but I don’t see any ROI in having everyone in the county pay more taxes to allow a few kids per year – or even a few hundred – to get cheaper tuition. Much has been made of the number of San Marcos students who matriculate to classes at ACC…..but what are the numbers on the percentage of those students who end up with a degree? Last I checked, “some college” wasn’t a big resume builder……

    If these kids can’t afford the tuition, they can do what I did – take out student loans.

  7. We have very little middle class here in San Marcos. 61% of SMCISD students qualify for free or reduced price meals. The best way to create a middle class is to provide affordable educational opportunities. More people moving up to middle class means more tax revenue which should mean we can reduce taxes in time. The flip side of the coin, the best way to keep us on the path to higher taxes and subsidies is to see our population become increasingly undereducated for today’s job market. A more educated labor force will help us better attract more than just retail and entertainment businesses to town.

  8. It scares me sometimes when I realize how ignorant some people are to the educational situation we have here in San Marcos. Whenever we talk about economic development and giving millions of dollars to businesses to just bring in an Alamo Drafthouse, education is and will always be one of the largest contributors to this problem of economic development and “broadening of our tax base.” Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much money the city is willing to throw at out of town businesses to relocate/locate in San Marcos. When a community has a school district that is rated academically unacceptable and less then 75% of kids who make it to graduation (this number includes the large amount of students from The Phoenix Learning Center) pursue some type of post secondary education. Its no surprise that the mayor and council have to constantly give our money away. ACC is the answer to this problem of why so many of our students stay in San Marcos and never truly contribute to this community. The few classes that are offered at the high school currently can’t even be compared to what could be possible if San Marcos had an actual ACC campus. Yes taxes will rise, but an extra couple hundred dollars to close the gap of education in our community is well worth it.

  9. Why can’t those students go to TX State? Don’t tell me cost because that is just a cop out. I went to a college that cost $18,000 per year (20+ years ago)and I paid for 90% of it myself with hard work and just a little bit of student loans. Yeah, I worked my butt off but I also did not have time to party and screw around. I worked 3/4 time while taking 12+ hours per semester. Problem is, kids think they should not have to work while in school or at most work very part time. Forget ACC her in San Marcos. Those who want can drive to Austin.

  10. The Return on Investment for a Community College in Texas is 5.1 dollars for every dollar invested. Everyone benefits not just the students. ACC is the largest feeder Community College for Tx State and UT. ACC transfer students do better that students that start their college journey at four year Universities in Texas. I worked 40 + hours a week as a manager in a sit down restaurant, used my GI Bill, Academic scholarships, the Texas Hazel wood Military funding and a few student loans to pay for my SWT degree in four and a half years. The cost has skyrocketed in the last 15 years. ACC would make it more affordable as most folks do not have funds like the G I Bill. I took two classes at ACC back then because large class size was a barrier for me in Calculus. The small class size ACC provided gave me the one on one attention I needed to succeed. Sign the petition and let the voters decide.

  11. Most SMCISD graduates don’t meet the admissions requirements for Texas State. Our schools are improving, but they are still substandard. I’m not sure an ACC campus is the answer, though. Perhaps if they (ACC) included a formal plan for an outreach/mentoring program for our high school kids or something. Maybe if they had a plan to work with the high school to double the enrollment rate once a campus was here. Again, I’d like to see us getting creative and demanding more return on these investments, if we are bound and determined to give our money away. We should be negotiating for every ounce of benefit that we can get; not just setting for whatever offer is brought to the table.

  12. Nobody is saying community college is bad, and it is a good place for some students to start. The question is how easy do we have to make it? Last I checked, there are ACC classes in San Marcos right now and a student can access any class ACC offers with a 30 minute drive. I drive 45 minutes to work everyday; if they want it, it is there for them. Students currently pay $137 per credit hour and can obtain grants, scholarships or loans to defray some of that cost. Sure $39 is cheaper but if it is such a good deal for the student, it should be worth the investment to them; if they want it, it is there for them.

  13. Texas State has millions of dollars in unawarded scholarships each year (not applied for). Maybe, instead of an ACC campus and cheaper tuition there, we should work to build a stronger relationship between the high school and Texas State.

    My wild-ass guess is that this tax increase would amount to $5 million per year. If I am right, there are a lot of programs we could put in place for that money, which could benefit our students far more than reduced tuition at ACC.

  14. ACC does have a plan and is already fostering relationships for education with our high school students, staff and community. I can not post web sites for the State of Texas etc. for information but they are easy to find. Some scholarships that are of the table at Texas State are not utilized because students do not meet the guidelines not because students do not apply. As a student I applied for scholarships but I did not meet some guidelines.

    Community Colleges can more quickly change classes offered based on what the business community desires. The reduced tuition is only part of the return on investment. Not everyone has a car to drive to Austin and walking or riding a bike is not an option. An educated community helps everyone prosper. If we are all going to benefit then maybe we should all share a little in the cost. ACC is the least expensive Community College in Texas. Sign the petition and let the voters decide.

  15. There is always room for improvement. My point was simply that we should be looking for every possible benefit that we can get for our money.

  16. Let’s be sure we understand the facts, which neither this article or Kinslow want you to know. ACC is already in San Marcos. ACC is hundreds of millions of dollars in DEBT. This has nothing to do with education, it is about money. Once annexed there is NO LEGAL RECOURSE! They are here forever as TAXING AUTHORITY. Once annexed San Marcos is then liable for the debts already incurred by ACC. This tax will be increased on every home and business in property tax and business tax. This will put another notch in the gun for NON-growth for San Marcos, which can’t compete now. Anyone that studies the facts about this issue will not be for it unless they have a monetary agenda.

  17. Also, I met with someone at the top of the financial aid department and was told *explicity* that nobody is applying for the scholarships.

  18. Now, if you want to say that our students don’t meet the guidelines to enroll at Texas State to begin with, I will agree 1000%.

  19. I’m real good with San Marcos neither wanting nor getting an ACC campus. Because we ARE getting one in the Kyle-Buda area. We will be glad to take the tuition from potential students from San Marcos – and the money they will spend at our area restaurants and stores. And we will be more than glad not to share the economic development that will result from the ACC campus being in our area. So please, by all means, keep being negative about it. And before too long, Kyle will be the largest city in Hays County. Hey, maybe we will even supplant San Marcos and become the county seat…

  20. Armydad is right, Ted you are WAY off on this one! FYI, here’s a fact all might find of interest: the President of the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Powers, is on video talking about an internal study UT did of THEIR students, and comparing how those admitted to UT as freshman were doing by their junior/senior years as compared to those admitted from ACC to UT after going to ACC their first two years and then to UT. Guess what? HE says the study shows that the ACC students, on average, are doing BETTER than those who came to UT straight out of high school Oh, and you should realize that over 80% of UT freshman are admitted soley on the basis of being in the TOP 10% of their high school classes across Texas! Hmmm, takes away the argument about our local school district (Ted, wrong!) and shows the value in ACC. (fyi, what happened to the person who told me on here “there was no petition drive” when I said yes there is—and yes, I signed it—???? )

  21. If you want to see the video of Dr. Powers saying this, it’s on the presentation that ACC did to the Kyle Chamber of Commerce a couple of weeks ago…. so before some idiot says it doesn’t exist or where is it—now you have your answer. And yes, over 100 people saw/heard it… and it’s still available if you want to make the effort (what a novel approach!) to go and see it, get educated (another novel approach!).

  22. Adam, the students who went to ACC for two years and transferred into UT are the very top of the ACC student base. Their success is not indicative of the student who transfers elsewhere or who just wastes years taking two or three classes a semester. Additionally, the value of their degree is such that they don’t need the tuition break and can afford to pay back the cost of their own ACC tuition. What of the others? Some attend ACC as college for the sake of college; what percentage of students who enroll at ACC for a single class graduate from a four year school? What benefit do the rest see form their time?

    The entire idea that because our public schools are failing our students we need to subsidize more public school seems to miss the point. Perhaps we should work on the public schools we have and insure that they instill the skill set the students need for success in the world. Why should someone who graduates from high school have to go to ACC to get the skills the business community wants? Why should someone have to go to school until they are 22 – 26 to have the requisite skills to succeed in the world? Pouring millions of local dollars into ACC is wasteful and unnecessary. Two or three anecodotal stories of success don’t justify the huge cost.

    The petition process has meaning. It should not be a mere rubber stamp to get to an election. And think how this election would look. The yes contingent will have millions of dollars at stake and will prey on the American misconception that education is an end unto itself; the no contingent will simply stand on principle without any organization or money. Additionally, a low voter turnout will include thousands of students who will be all for voting themselves another entitlement.

  23. Lyla, geez, talk about negative. I’ve never known someone who could come out in favor of something and still sound so negative and angry.

  24. John, that isn’t what Powers said, but if you want to twist it to fit your perspective, fine. As for me, I’m done with all the negative crap on this website, seems few positive people ever write in, only those who thrive in being negative. I chose to live life positive and try to make a difference by helping others—a principle founded 2000 years ago by the most remarkable person to ever walk this Earth.

  25. If all higher level education was free to every US citizen , would the PERCENTAGE of college graduates in the general population go up? Or would lack of good academic foundation,intelligence or drive weed out enough students to keep the percentage of college graduates per gen. pop the same as when affordability was a factor?

    If the percentage of college graduates per gen. population does go up, will more higher paying jobs be created in our country to employ the graduates? How delicate is the balance (or need) for keeping an X % of general population satisfied with low wages to do service jobs?

  26. Ted – it’s called “sarcasm.” Get over it. Angry and negative I am not. I think ACC is great. And I am all for education, in any shape, form or fashion. It’s the best investment any society can make.

  27. “Get over it.” Lila’s favorite expression. So dismissive and arrogant. I quit taking her seriously a long time ago. So is ACC building a campus in San Marcos AND Kyle? When the prez made his presentation in San Marcos this past week he said a campus was to be built on the land Randall Morris gave them plus additional adjacent acreage they have under contract.

  28. Someone who is opposed to annexation asked me recently why doesn’t ACC just improve on it’s Goodnight Center or the Lamar Center? I asked someone in administration at ACC this question, and the answer is that ACC doesn’t own these buildings, they rent the space from the school district. It’s not ACC’s property. So, yes, soe of you mentioned that ACC already has a presence here in SM, but ACC doesn’t have their own property. I think annexation is a good idea because it makes education accessable for current and future students (high school grads, workforce training and even certification programs).

  29. Education is ALREADY accessable for current and future students. Austin is just a half-hour away and if they don’t want to drive, then Texas State has a campus right here in town.

    If people want an education, it’s there for the taking. I agree with John – how easy do we think we have to make it for them?

    It simply is not worth my property tax dollars to ensure that students (a) don’t have to drive to school or (b) that they don’t have to pay hardly anything for their college education.

    Let them *work* for their degree instead of putting one on a silver platter for them (what are they worth if we do that anyway???). If they want a college education badly enough, there are even student loans available to help those who can’t afford it.

  30. Education is not the end but the means to moving up the Socio-economic ladder. The G I Bill is a great example of how providing a door to education has made a difference. The Return on Investment for a Community College in Texas is 5.1 dollars for every dollar invested. Everyone benefits not just the students.
    Sign the petition and let the voters decide.

  31. I agree that education is the means and I have been as vocal of a supporter of better education for our citizens as anyone. I question whether this is the piece that is missing. Too few of our students are graduating high school and of those, I don’t get the sense that a whole lot of them are graduating with any thoughts of going to college. They certainly aren’t graduating “college ready.” I think the problem is a good bit earlier in their careers as students.

  32. I find it very interesting that I posted facts about ACC in item 18 and not one person acknowledged the entry. Are facts that insignificant when discussing ACC and “Education”? I hope people will do their homework BEFORE voting and find the statistics supporting ACC do not fair well. The percentage of students starting ACC and graduating and/or moving on to a 4 year school is very low. The number of students attending ACC from San Marcos is very low. Hopefully more of you will be open to looking at facts in the future as they become available.

  33. Ted, we have lots of items missing that will create a more educated community. I think this is only one step in the journey. Thks for sharing your views as it is very important to have an open and honest conversation.

  34. Armydad (and the rest), likewise. It is nice to see some people who are actually concerned about the quality of education our citizens are receiving, For me, the issue is where we can get the most bang for our buck. Unlike sales tax rebates, which many will argue involve money that we were never going to receive anyway, this most certainly is our money and it is very, very limited. That’s why I’d like to see our city push back and demand something more than just a campus and reduced tuition (if we go this route).

    I’d like to see this tied into a plan to double the rate of college enrollment for our graduates (currently only about 27% graduate “college ready,” only half even take the SAT/ACT and most of them score abysmally low). The solution may involve an outreach to the parents, which might take something really out-of-the-box, like having workshops at their jobs, or offering free classes (not just one night at the high school) on getting your kids into, and paying for college.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but the more people working on it, the more likely we are to get there and if ACC wants a few million from us, they ought to get creative and pitch in. More to the point, though, we need to get away from assuming that the deal that is brought to the table is the best deal we can get. Our elected representatives could be truly visionary, by working with ACC to figure out how to make this relationship really work for our citizens and then taking the time to pitch it to us, get some feedback, refine the plan and then put it on the ballot.

  35. Ted, I really like the direction of your thinking on this as far as trying to put together the best package possible to benefit SMCISD taxpayers. Improved access to post-secondary education is only part of the equation to getting our educational house in order. ACC already has donated land, so in some sense they already have one positive concession in their favor from San Marcos. Getting ACC to at least agree to parental outreach would be great, and perhaps having ACC offer more free ACT/SAT prep courses. Also, working with the ISDs to get dual-credit for taking ACC classes that would count toward graduation would improve the ROI, and eliminate some duplication. Perhaps even create a link between ACC and SMHS to develop trade program education beginning at 11th grade so that those students not interested in college can easily transition to a trade program (giving them more motivation to complete high school).

    Perhaps Texas State should be brought to the bargaining table as well: they are having problems with extremely high faculty-student ratios and are running short on space. High ratios often result in lower 6-year graduation rates at universities, which damages a school’s reputation. They may want to partner with ACC to have ACC handle more of the basic courses, contributing financially to the ACC campus and/or faculty salaries. ACC is able to offer better student-faculty ratios, which may help Texas State continue to improve its 6-year graduation rates (the more personal attention at ACC is part of why those students are doing well at UT). ACC can also provide these basic courses cheaper than Texas State. Also, it would allow Texas State to better utilize its professors for their particular expertise within a field and pursue research grants. At least with the San Marcos campus, this seems like a pretty logical strategic partnership that would help Texas State deal with its overcrowding, potentially reduce the property tax contribution of SMCISD property owners, improve students’ academic performance, and improve ACC’s performance measures and continuation of students to complete 4-year degrees.

  36. ACC is badly managed, in debt and has a corporate culture with no accountability. When they first got started in Austin they promised they would be self-supporting and not need taxes. That promise didn’t last. Now they come begging to San Marcos (and everyone else in the region – Kyle, Bastrop, Round Rock) and have yet to be accountable for the vast voter fraud they committed last time. Is this who we really want In San Marcos? How much will they improve spreading themselves even thinner than they are already?

    San NO to ACC.

  37. Any news on how the petition is doing? I bet it must be harder to get signatures when you can’t just forge them.

  38. He’s also speaking the truth. Don’t forget that part.

    If you folks in Kyle want an ACC campus, then by all means go for it. It should achieve their goal of “making educational opportunities for San Marcos students more attainable” (or whatever drivel they’re using to pass it off on us) without subjecting everyone in town to higher property taxes. Never mind you’ll be taxing *everyone* to pay for cheaper classes for less than 5% of the total population.

    I – and many others – don’t want any part of one in San Marcos.

  39. Hate always to ask such questions, but has anyone checked how long it might take @ a tax of a dime per hundred dollars valuation to build, equip, schedule and maintain a building costing $5-7 M “San Marcos ACC Campus?” That would, presumably, be in addition to the tuitions and fees at the proposed rate, while also somehow both paying salaries/benefits, supplies, furniture, maintenance and operations costs, insurance, incidental costs, and reserve funds, just as TX STATE does. The University has access to direct state funding as well as something called State-approved “tuition revenue bonds”–bonds attached to the borrowing for dormitories and other campus facilities. (These are bonds incrementally approved by the Legislature, the Legislative Budget Board, and the Higher Education Coordinating Board. The school’s collateral is anticipated tuition, exclusive of fees, fines, permits, etc. At the defeasement of the bonds, the property belongs to the State, and then more bonds are often borrowed against the said properties to help make up the nut for newer bonds.

    What will be the entrance requirements for students in various fields of study, from the six-month, purely vocational certification sequences to the core academic courses, likely including a number of remedial work for the truly college-bound who wish to continue in education. One might reasonably assume either a diploma or a GED and the usual entrance requirments such as ACT/SAT or other standardized scores.

    Still say ANY new property taxation might be used to provide direct services and programs for students in the SMCISD service area, to raise the probability of building a “bridge” into Gary Job Corps, TX STATE or other programs, and by doing so raise District scores in State evaluations of academic quality, as well as offering much- needed encouragement to lower our present public school dropout rate from the current and unacceptable 30+ beginning in ninth grade. The poorest-achieving students will not, be assured, suddenly see the light and turn on the academic jets–among other reasons, because they lack interest, will, and understanding to make the turnaround.
    Who shall be the faculty, and what size the classes, and what kind and duration of training?

    There is the rub beneath both the altruism and the aspirations described in the enthusiastic PR campaign we see around us, which has evolved away from the last (fraudulent) pitch. I believe in my heart, as a lifetime educator, that providing a new workforce with the tools and guidance to build rewarding careers from whatever foundation is THE best thing we can do for our youth, our community, and our country–economically, socially, in just about any point of view.

    I just feel in my bones that we are not looking at a near-term or highly-successful program that can emerge from the raw material we are given–dreams, if you will. The community must buy in, not just suffer more taxes. The program’s main benefit should be to the individual aspiring youth, not to the hyper-busy, cash-and-space-and faculty-
    deficient University, nor to the larger, even more expansion-minded Community College District. Building trades and crafts? GED? Truck and heavy equipment operation and maintenance? Medical aides and technicians? Gary has those bases pretty well covered, and a long record (since 1965) of students going right into careers or on to trade schools or colleges or other ripe careers..

    Just trust us and agree to the taxes and encumbrances, and even those of you who might be facing foreclosure will surely see how well the plan is laid out as the results come in? You will also benefit greatly from the great value added to the community, and ride the tax curve gleefully forward?

  40. Billy, no one is asking you to just trust on bringing ACC to San Marcos CISD. Check the facts, do the research and you will find a $5.1 return on every dollar invested. As a former administrator at Texas State University and politician here in San Marcos you should know that SMCISD can not invest another 10 cents in the School District’s tax rate without The State of Texas chiming in afterward. Sign the petition and let the voters decide!

  41. Why on earth would you encourage someone to sign a petition supporting something they don’t support?

  42. In all seriousness, how is the ACC petition doing? If they are at half their goal, and suddenly jump up with a thousand signatures in the last twelve hours or something, then we’ll have another problem.

    ACC wants to come down here in order to make money. If they could just tax us without petitions or votes they would in a heartbeat. They’ve already proven they are willing to break the law to achieve their ends. So forgive me if I’m not entirely trusting. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

  43. The fine folks in Hays CISD already have enough votes to put annexation on their ballot….and ACC has already identified several potential locations for a campus in Kyle or Buda.

    So, if they get Hays and they get their new campus, wouldn’t that be all the more reason for San Marcos to say a resounding “NO” to annexation and save our citizens from throwing tax money at ACC forever?

  44. ARMYDAD: Where is the $5.10 windfall per dollar coming from, in real, spendable terms? Mind, I have no personal objection to such a deal, if it is real. But I expect it is founded on the “prospective lifetime earnings increase” of all students optimistically expected to enroll, a number made of rubber and moonbeams until it proves out.

    Or is this another tired iteration of that old CofC deceiver that claims every new dollar spent at home stays here and accrues the impact of $7.00? That one has been around, as they used to say, “since Jesus was a Corporal.” It is simply untrue. Carefully analyzed by the national league of Cities, among others who have an ongoing stake in such magic, the actual researched and verified number in almost all cases is about $2.60. As one who has been involved with all kinds of “Economic Impact Studies” at The Rising Star of Texas, NLC, and a host of organizations, I shun those that begin with such assumptions as a given, since nothing true can be derived from them. (Think hows many of US shop, pay landlords, car dealers, mortgage companies, etc. out of town, rather than being able to support our home-owned, locally-employing enterprises and entrepreneurs.

    We ship money out of here by the carload to Wal-Mart, Valero, H.E.B., Prime/Tanger and various other civil and governmental entities (LCRA? PEC?). What is left is the actual divisor for economic impact, ON AVERAGE–scattered below and above the median figure, and WAY less than 5 or 7 times the investment. That’s how the University can utter and then repeat an absurdity like the one where they have $8 BILLION/yr. impact in the City–more than the total taxable worth and the active economy combined. That explains how we can have 37% poverty rate amid this hurricane of money.

    Such figures are the stock in trade of the current Council, with its “Economic Development at any Cost” mantra. (The “incentives” we gave to Beall’s, Penney’s and Target to make the logical and affordable move to the already incentivized shopping center nearer the retail epicenter of the community? We did this at the same time as those SAME operations were signing as anchor tenants in the huge new Creekside Center 13 miles down the road, at the 306 Canyon Turnoff.) True economic development involves NEW money being carried into the community and old money being kept here–none of which this is, except perhaps construction money,salaries and plain old routine M&O.

    Finally, through our deepest rose-colored glasses, how many of our current students and dropouts can we redeem and give lifetime career promise, still expecting them to stay here, in this limited market, to spend their increased lifetime earnings? Most people have no intention–just wouldn’t be natural. Graduate, and it’s off like a prom dress.
    Unffortunately, history says the REAL potential earners choose to go places like Notre Dame, Stanford, etc., and to make careers in metro areas like Austin and San Jose.

    This is what my experience in many settings and my “book learnin'” tell me. I am open to see and admit any mistake, and to be grateful I have been wrong. How IS that tax dollar going to turn into five we can share with each other?

    Finally (whew!), I would never suggest that a whole $.10 be added to the SMCISD rate–just the 2 or 3 cents that would brace us where we know we are week (without more Assistant Principals).

  45. The $5.1 ROI is from the State of Texas. Billy, were you on the Council when the outlet malls were approved? I am sure any City would have loved to have that type of visionary leadership and current sales tax today from one development. One last thing, we are in the Austin Metro area.

  46. If SMISD kids can’t cut it in high school and are dropping out or are graduating without a plan to continue their education, I doubt seriously that they are going to suddenly develop an interest in academics if we fund a community college.

    Let us (and them) utilize the fine university that we already have here, built and paid for.

    This “intermediate step” in curricula is not necessary, will be expensive, and will not work to any degree toward a break even point for our community kids, nor for us as taxpayers.

  47. Armydad: I was on the Council, back in the day when such agreements were negotiated on the basis of mutual need. We set limits to how much, for how long, under what terms, and then we wrote in “clawback clauses” that recovered our money if they didn’t meet the letter of the terms–number of jobs by a certain time, level of jobs, environmental concessions, etc. We were welcoming enough, if they were a fit in our economy, and never adversarial toward any applicant, but we turned a few away with cause, and we punished those who didn’t come up to scratch. That seems like an awfully long time ago. (I’m rather nearsighted myself, but thanks for the compliment! We ALL looked out there together when I was Mayor, and had good staff and well-informed Council who didn’t rely on foreign consultants, but on shrewd business practice.) It was on Kathy Morris’s watch when this risky game began (1989), and she was a shrewd player–almost as if it were her own money!

    But wheeling and dealing is a seductive sport for some, and some follow rather than lead. Pity, that.

  48. ACC has a 4% graduation rate. Most students who take ACC freshman classes do so in their senior year of high school which means very few students go on to their second (and last) year and graduate. ACC just spent $35 million on land – two of these tracts in Elgin and Bastrop, towns that are 16 miles apart. ACC has an annual budget of over $100 million. And if no students from your district go to ACC, you still pay the tax. With the internet and so many classes being held via computer, why would we want to build so many brick and mortar buildings in the area? Remember that costs as well…and there’s that $35 million price tag on the land. ACC only wants the $2+ million they’ll collect year after year from each one of these districts they’re looking to annex.

    There are grants, scholarships and other aid if a student can’t afford to go based on the family’s ability to pay (I know – mine did – got a Bachelors and Masters). If you’re going to pay $.09 to $.50 per $100 extra on your property, wouldn’t you rather have a say? Remember – if the large population in Austin votes for a higher tax rate, they’ll outvote us outlying districts… we’ll have Austin telling us what to do whether we like it or not.

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