State Rep. Celia Israel: Annexing Pflugerville into ACC has value

Austin-American Statesman: State Rep. Celia Israel: Annexing Pflugerville into ACC has value

July 16, 2018

By Celia Israel, State Representative

An election issue is shaping up that will directly benefit Pflugerville: joining the Austin Community College service area.

I see the value in expanding ACC into the Pflugerville school district and hope voters see it too. Roughly one-third of the Pflugerville district is already in the ACC service area, so it will be up to the remaining two-thirds to decide whether the Pflugerville district will fully become a part of the ACC district.

This is a big deal. Central Texas job growth accounts for one-third of all of Texas’ job growth. Meanwhile, Pflugerville is the third fastest-growing city of its size in the country.

Our children, and others who live in our community, deserve every opportunity to succeed. ACC’s affordable courses and workforce development programs will open the door for Pflugervillians who are eager to learn and gain high-demand skills.

Whether it’s a graduate of a Pflugerville high school taking key courses to earn a nursing degree or a non-traditional student taking a class in Spanish to better prepare for a changing workforce, Pflugerville can directly benefit from voting “yes” on this referendum.

If voters choose to become a part of ACC, our community members won’t be required to pay out-of-district prices to take college courses or receive on-demand training designed to meet local employers’ needs. In-district residents could save over $4,000 for a 20-hour course load.

Last week I went to the public hearing and heard overwhelming support in favor of bringing ACC to Pflugerville. This came as no surprise to me because Pflugerville is one of the last high-growth areas in Central Texas that hasn’t yet joined the ACC service area.

Of course, I also heard some concerns about higher taxes and the need for a promise from ACC to bring a robust campus to Pflugerville.

ACC has a reputation for delivering superior services at a very low tax rate and has placed campuses and facilities tailored to meet local community needs throughout its service area. ACC already partners with the Pflugerville district to provide high school students with college credits before they even receive their diplomas. Most important, ACC is the largest pipeline for transfer students into the University of Texas and Texas State University.

I can speak directly to the power of ACC. One of my policy analysts, Cassie Fitzgerald, used to be a line cook. But thanks to ACC, she was able to go back to school in her late 20s and go on to transfer to the University of Texas in Austin on a full scholarship. This fall, Cassie will be leaving Texas and my office to pursue her master’s degree in public policy. Had ACC not been there for Cassie, she may never have known her full potential, and she may never have served Pflugerville as one of my most valued policy aides.

In my time at UT-Austin, I took advantage of classes at ACC as well, taking business calculus at the Rio Grande campus. This saved me some precious dollars, and I got a tough course out of the way during the summer. ACC has given many of us an opportunity to improve ourselves and, in turn, improve our local and state economies with workforce training.

I share these things because some folks may not know how they might be impacted if they don’t plan to attend ACC. The fact is, you already do benefit from ACC in many ways.

In the end, as I heard from so many in Pflugerville, this is all about our kids, our shared future and what is best for our community.

What stands out to me is that everyone in our community cares deeply about our children and their education. That’s why I support ACC in Pflugerville, and I hope you will too.


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