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ACC Board Adopts $265 Million Budget

The Austin Community College District Board of Trustees adopted a $265 million budget for 2011-12 during its July 5 meeting. The budget balances the need to address state funding cuts against the college’s mission to expand programs and services in response to community demand.

“This budget is an amazing accomplishment when you consider the incredibly difficult economic climate ACC and other colleges and universities are facing,” says Dr. Barbara Mink, chair of the Board of Trustees. “ACC has managed to avoid layoffs, furloughs, and salary cuts, and we’re meeting our goals without asking more of taxpayers.”

The college’s Master Plan guides the budget, ensuring resources are allocated in alignment with core objectives of meeting enrollment targets, expanding instructional capacity, enhancing student success, and expanding fiscal capacity.

“ACC is committed to continuing to grow as demand increases,” says Dr. Stephen B. Kinslow, ACC president/CEO. “This balanced budget allows us to fulfill our responsibilities to the community while acting judiciously in the face of significant cuts in state funding.”

The budget reflects a 15 percent reduction in state appropriations, a $9.6 million loss for ACC. State funding has dropped from 41 percent of ACC’s budget a decade ago to 20 percent in the 2011-12 budget, which takes effect September 1.

Tax revenues are projected to be flat this year. The exact rate will be set after property tax rolls are certified this summer, but the rate is expected to remain essentially unchanged – about 9½ cents per $100 valuation. The college offers  a standard $5,000 homestead exemption plus a $115,000 exemption for seniors and homeowners with disabilities.

As part of the budget approval process, trustees increased spring 2012 tuition by $5 per credit hour to $57. The rate for out-of-district students will be $199 per hour ($57 tuition plus a $142 out-of-district fee). The board previously raised summer and fall 2011 tuition by $5 each, and a new fee structure takes effect this fall.

“Restructuring tuition and fees was not an easy decision, but it was prudent under the circumstances,” says Dr. Mink. “ACC administration and the board are mindful of the impact on students, and we are implementing institutional efficiencies to reduce costs. In addition, the college has expanded scholarship opportunities, and students have a variety of tuition payment options.”

Cost efficiencies include $3.5 million in savings due to enrollment management changes (an increase in class limits and scheduling efficiencies) and a $500,000 reduction of administrative budgets. The board voted to suspend the property tax exemption for historical properties for another year. That decision infuses the 2011-12 budget with nearly $323,000 in additional funds.

“ACC has planned well and anticipated declining state support,” says Dr. Kinslow. “As a result, we are in a stronger position than many other institutions.”

The budget incorporates a 2 percent raise for full-time faculty and staff, with adjunct faculty raises prorated based on work load. The college did not give across-the-board raises last year.

During the meeting, the board also adopted the 2012-14 Master Plan. The vote was part of the annual review and update of ACC’s comprehensive strategy for the future.

posted in: ACC Homepage Announcements, ACC Newsroom, Legislative Updates, Official ACC Press Releases


5 Responses to “ACC Board Adopts $265 Million Budget”

  1. Donnalee says:

    I pay/paid out of distric rate for every class I have taken at ACC. My area voted
    “NO” to the bond/elections.

    I can only afford to take 1class a semester due to the cost.

    I write this to voice my opinion that: yes, the tuition for me is very expensive, but to get the education I want I have to pay. One day it will be over and worth it!!!!!

  2. jack taylor says:

    what would happen if acc stopped taking taxes from austin?

  3. Susan says:

    Laura and Cathryn,
    I understand it can be difficult to pay out-of-district tuition, and I think ACC’s board does, too. But what you have to understand is that the increases in tuition were moderate compared to other instititions, and ACC has to cover its costs somehow if the community wants it to exist in the future. Laura, ACC can’t just decide to make an area in-district. In your case, Pflugerville would need to decide that being in-district was important enough to put it on the next bond/educational ballot, and then the citizens of Pflugerville would need to decide if they want Pflugerville to be in-district. For the initiative to pass, voters who are homeowners would have to be willing to pay a tax as explained above. ACC has been incredibly fortunate to have affiliations around the Austin area who see the value in this and are willing to pay the tax. But if your area isn’t paying the tax, ACC has to make the difference up some way, and with decreased revenues from the state, the only way left is to either tax those people within the distict more (which might lead them to opt out of the ACC district), or raise tuition. ACC has been diligent in keeping costs down in an effort to raise tuition as little as possible. I know it still has an impact, and your difficulties are real, but I hope you understand that in this economy, ACC has worked very hard to offer quality education that is still accessible to you. As an ACC instuctor, I did not object to a salary freeze (that some could credibly argue was actually a pay cut) last year. I knew that this measure was a sacrifice all ACC faculty made in order to lessen the finacial impact on students, and I did it willingly. I write all this because I want you to know that ACC works hard to listen to you and others like you, and although you have to make sacrifices to afford your tuition, many others also have made sacrifices to avoid rasing it further. I hope that is some small comfort to you, and I hope you continue to pursue your education and follow your dreams.

  4. Laura s says:

    I dont understand why Pflugerville is out of district when RR is in district I know it has to do with taxes, why cant you make p-ville in district like you did RR. I also dont understand why i pay triple what people in district do, it’s really very annoying, i understand double maybe, but not triple.

  5. Cathryn B. says:

    As an out of district student, I find the increases in tuition not “student friendly”…I am paying 3 times as much as in district students, and half of the time have NO parking! I am on disability, handicapped plates and ACC has just put another dent in my educational hopes! I am having to take classes that are mandatory, (which have nothing to do with my career), and who is benefiting from all of this?? The gas prices are high, economy is hard…maybe more online courses would help??