The San Marcos ACCess coalition officially kicks off a petition drive this week seeking signatures from San Marcos CISD registered voters to call an election to join the Austin Community College District.
The kick-off will be held Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. at the San Marcos Public Library, 625 E. Hopkins St.
“This effort will bring lower tuition rates and a full-service, comprehensive campus to San Marcos,” said Albert Sierra, San Marcos ACCess co-chair. “The return on investment is high.”
San Marcos ACCess members will present a brief presentation, followed by statements from community, business and youth leaders. A ceremonial signing of the petition will culminate the event. Everyone is welcome.
The coalition, made up of local residents interested in exploring the benefits joining the ACC District will bring to San Marcos area residents, is collecting signatures to present to the ACC Board of Trustees to initiate an election, as required by state law.
“This effort is about giving San Marcos residents, especially our young people, greater access to education,” said Kim Porterfield, who co-chairs the coalition with Sierra and San Marcos High School senior Miguel Arredondo. “Community colleges provide high-quality, affordable education that helps citizens find better jobs, earn higher wages and contribute to the local tax base.”
Reducing the cost to attend will help his classmates, said Arredondo. “Currently, San Marcos residents pay about $137 per credit hour and most have to drive to Austin to classes,” Arredondo said. “By joining the ACC District, San Marcos residents will reduce their tuition to $39 per credit hour and have access to a campus here,” he said.
ACC has plans to construct a campus on about 72 acres of land off Highway 123 near San Marcos High School. The ACC tax rate is 9.46 cents per $100 of assessed property, meaning the owners of a $100,000 home would pay approximately $90 a year. Thanks to a generous tax exemption for seniors and disabled residents, these homeowners would pay nothing on the first $110,000 value of their home. The tax cap cannot be raised without voter approval.
Sierra, one of the founding members of LULAC #654 and former chair of the San Marcos ENLACE coalition, said joining the ACC District makes sense for San Marcos. “ACC is the point of entry into higher education for more than 70 percent of minorities in the Central Texas area,” Sierra said. “ACC is also a leader in workforce training. These services will be more convenient and less expensive for our residents if we join the district.”
Organizers hope the initiative will result in more SMHS graduates seeking higher education. “We must have more of our graduates attending college if we want San Marcos to remain competitive,” Sierra said.
Members of the coalition are available to make presentations at civic, neighborhood and other organization meetings. Call 512-757-0601 to schedule a speaker.Email | Print