The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees held its regular meeting Monday, August 9, 2021. On the agenda were the proposed 2021-22 property tax rate, the current legislative priorities, and a financial update after the summer semester. Below are highlights from the meeting.
Property Tax Rate
Trustees proposed a 2021-22 property tax rate of $0.1048 per $100 of valuation, which consists of a $0.09 maintenance and operation rate, which has remained unchanged since 2006, and a $0.0148 rate for debt service. The proposed rate is less than the 2020 rate of $0.1058 due to a decreased debt service rate. A public hearing on the proposed tax rate will be held at the board’s September 13 meeting.
2021 Summer Semester Financial Report
Neil Vickers, ACC Finance & Administration executive vice president, informed the board that the college is on track and projecting a positive net revenue and expenses of $5 million. Job vacancies and a continued hiring freeze contributed to the surplus.
Additional Legislative Priorities Added
As presented in prior reports to the Board, ACC had a successful 2021 legislative session with the passage of baccalaureate degree expansion (HB 3348) and a biennial community college budget resulting in more funding for the college. ACC Vice President of Campus Operations and Public Affairs, Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, updated Trustees on other legislative issues affecting community colleges that were passed during the regular session, including:
- Community college finance review (SB 1230), a signature policy initiative of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) that establishes a committee to study the community college finance system in Texas.
- A series of data-sharing bills to align or realign education and workforce systems to meet demand (HB 3767, SB 788, and HB 1247).
- A data transparency bill (SB 1019) that directs the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to report statewide disaggregated student loan data.
- A bill that requires mental health and suicide prevention information be included on all student ID cards (SB 279).
- A permitless carry bill (HB 1927) with provisions that prohibit open carry on campuses of higher education institutions, including community colleges.
- The Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education (TRUE) bill (HB 3003 and SB 1102), a signature policy initiative of TACC that deploys grants administered by the THECB for the purpose of funding workforce education programs that are targeted to displaced workers seeking skills in high-demand fields. Though this initiative passed, some funding questions remain.
Free Capital Metro Rides and Special Bus Route Approved
The board unanimously approved extending the ACC Green Pass for students and employees for another year. The pass allows students, faculty, and staff unlimited rides on Capital Metro buses and rail for one semester upon proof of enrollment or employment. For more information, click here.
The board also approved an interlocal agreement to keep a bus stop at the ACC Cypress Creek Campus. The special route provides service from Lago Vista and Jonestown to the Cypress Creek Campus and then to Capital Metro’s Lakeline Station.
Contract With KUKA Robotics System for Tesla START Program
A contract with KUKA Corporation, approved by Trustees, will provide robotics systems and equipment for the ACC Tesla START Manufacturing Program. The intensive training program is the first of its kind in the nation and will provide a training pipeline for high-demand manufacturing careers at Tesla.
The $170,000 contract, from a Texas Workforce Commission grant, provides KUKA Robots and the 6x Pipeline KUKA R700-2 Robotic System. These robots will be used for Tesla START Manufacturing students at the ACC Riverside Campus. The robots are expected to be delivered around August 12, 2021.
View recordings from the meeting here.