The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees held its regular meeting Monday, September 13, 2021. The college approved the fiscal year 2022 property tax rate and provided an update on new student enrollment and safety and security audit. Below are highlights from the meeting.
Adoption of Property Tax Rate
The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to lower the college’s tax rate for 2021-22. The tax rate of $0.1048 (10.48 cents) per $100 valuation consists of $0.09 for Maintenance and Operation and $0.0148 for Debt Service. It’s less than the 2020 rate of $0.1058 due to a decreased debt service rate and remains among the lowest of all community colleges across the state. Trustees also previously approved new and expanded tax exemptions to help ease the burden for homeowners in the district. Read more here.
Chancellor’s Report to the Board
ACC Chancellor/CEO, Dr. Richard Rhodes, presented an update to the board including two new partnerships. The first is with Toyota Motor North America for the Technician Training & Education Network (T-TEN). The program provides a training pipeline for students who are seeking careers with Toyota and Lexus. Also, the college will work with NI (formerly National Instruments) to expand ACC’s Career Scholars Program. The new NI Technical Scholar program includes an Engineering Opportunity Scholarship that covers the full cost of attendance and includes an immersive development program.
Another highlight includes the college’s growing graduation rates. New preliminary data shows ACC’s three-year graduation rate is now at least 22.3 percent, up from 18.6 percent last year and 15.3 percent the year before.
Dr. Rhodes also spoke about the return to campus and balancing the needs of ACC employees and students with the safety of the community. Students continue to ask for more in-person options for classes and support. Dr. Rhodes reminded everyone a mask is required on all ACC campuses and encouraged everyone to get vaccinated. The college will continue to host vaccination clinics districtwide.
Chancellor Priority No. 1: New Student Enrollment
Dr. Melissa Curtis, associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Management, delivered an update on the ACC’s Strategic Enrollment Planning. The Strategic Enrollment Management Committee, created in 2020, is composed of representatives from across the college to develop a three-year comprehensive plan focused on enrolling new students and retaining current students.
The first-year phase focused on identifying ways to enroll new students. Key additions during the first year included adding new recruiting professionals, creating new paying-for-college outreach, and developing a telerecruiter team staffed with current students. The committee also identified five components to focus on in the coming year:
Proactive recruitment and outreach
Welcome centers and campus tours
Marketing and communication technology
Financial aid education and outreach
Orientation and first-semester advising
ACC's 2021 Texas School Safety and Security Audit
Work will move forward to complete a safety and security audit of ACC facilities to assure the college meets certain criteria. The board unanimously approved the measure required by the Texas Education Code. The audit must be completed at all community colleges every three years. Results are provided to the Texas School Safety Center and its Board of Trustees.
Presentations Requested for New Contract on Highland Campus Renovation Projects
The Board of Trustees requested presentations from two companies bidding on construction-related projects at Highland Campus Buildings 1000 and 2000. The contract, funded by 2021 maintenance tax notes, is estimated at $7.5 million. Projects funded by the contract include the newly announced Make It Center, a Manufacturing Academy, and expansion for Student Services. Both companies will be asked to present their proposals for the project at the October board meeting.