Texas Border Business is in support of the bond and Maintenance Election
By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally published by Texas Border Business in its newsprint edition
On June 26, 2013 the South Texas College (STC) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to put a Bond and Maintenance Election in front of Hidalgo and Starr County voters for approval on November 5, 2013. The $159 million bond includes construction and equipping of college buildings at each of STC’s five campuses as well as a 3-cent additional annual tax for the maintenance and operation of STC.
The 2013 bond election expands capacity to meet unprecedented student population growth. Since 2001, when STC held its last Bond and Maintenance Election, STC’s enrollment numbers have increased by more than 18,000 students. In the fall of 2012, STC had a student enrollment of 30,824. STC’s projected student enrollment by fall 2020 is 42,000.
“South Texas College serves as a catalyst for regional economic prosperity and social mobility for Valley families. Education is key to the prosperity of a community and provides Valley families the opportunity for a better quality of life,” said Dr. Shirley A. Reed, President, South Texas College.
STC is proposing to increase the tax rate for construction bonds by ½ cent and to increase the tax rate by 3 cents for the maintenance and operation of the new facilities and the growth in student enrollment. Currently, the maintenance and operation tax rate to fund STC is 11 cents per $100 of assessed valuation and 4 cents to pay the debt service on bonds for the previous construction of facilities.
“A record of committed excellence and dedicated service in the region for over 20 years serve as a clear testament that South Texas College is not a backup plan but a forefront choice to an affordable and quality education,” said STC Board Chair Rose Benavidez. “In today’s global economy where knowledge is power, there is no question that we must remain an innovative institution that serves as the foundation of a competitive and educated workforce.”
“The passage of this bond in the upcoming election will ensure that your continued investment in our most critical resource, our residents, yields the highest returns,” added Benavidez.
In addition to the cost of operating the new facilities, the increase in the maintenance and operation tax rate will help develop new programs, hire additional faculty and serve the anticipated growth in student enrollment. Senior citizens ages 65 and over and the disabled with the proper tax exemption will not pay increased taxes, even if the requested tax increase is approved by the voters.
The election will be held on Tuesday, November 5 with early voting set for October 21 – November 1. There will be two propositions on the ballot: Approval of $159 million in construction bonds and a three-cent increase in the maximum tax rate for maintenance and operation. More information will be made available at bond2013.southtexascollege.edu.
Founded in 1993, South Texas College remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 31,000 students in credit classes, STC is the largest institution of higher education south of San Antonio. In addition, in the last five years, STC has served 24,649 students with non-credit courses and programs through their Continuing, Professional and Workforce Education Department and has served 17,442 workers through the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing. To learn more about STC, visit southtexascollege.edu.