ACC unlikely to consider area campus
By LPR Staff
Representatives of Austin Community College appeared at a rare joint meeting of the Lockhart City Council and the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening to discuss the possibility of entering a partnership for higher education with the community.
The meeting, spurred by earlier conversations between the city a
nd the school district, is a first step in recently-renewed grassroots efforts to attract the college to the Lockhart area.
Although ACC is already in a partnership with LISD that provides dual-credit courses for Lockhart High School students, ACC president Dr. Stephen B. Kinslow suggested – without saying so directly – that it was unlikely the college would consider building a satellite campus in this area for several years.
“One of the things we have to think about is where the enrollment is coming from, and whether the [tax contributions] from an area will support a campus,” Kinslow said. “Lockhart and this area accounts for about 1.07 percent of our enrollment at this time… and this area would generate about $800,000 in tax revenue.”
Kinslow said a push to expand the ACC district to include Lockhart, LISD or Caldwell County would be a benefit, though, in that it would allow for students to receive lower-cost tuition for ACC classes.
Former Lockhart Mayor and ACC professor M. Louis Cisneros spoke out at the meeting to encourage local leadership to look further into such a partnership, despite the fact it will raise taxes for area homeowners.
“I think the time for thinking about this is over, and we need to get down and consider it,” he said. “We need to start doing our homework and see if there is a real need, and if there is, we need to get working to address that need.”
Seated Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram, who was instrumental in organizing the meeting, said although there is a need in the area for higher education, the real push for the initiative needs to come from the citizens, not the leadership.
“I don’t want the citizens to have the expectation that the City is going to do this,” Bertram cautioned. “The citizens need to research this, to see where the need is, what the best area to consider for an ACC annexation would be.”
District 4 Councilmember Richard Banks, a vehement supporter of recruiting a junior college campus, however suggested the citizenry needs leadership, and said the city, county and school district officials should meet to determine the best course of action.
Bertram, echoed by other members of the council, reiterated that the real need is for citizen involvement, and that any initiative up to and including an election to determine whether to allow ACC to establish taxing jurisdiction in the area, should come from the public, not from elected leadership.
In brief news:
The council authorized City Manager Vance Rodgers to pursue information about, and ultimately apply for funding under a block grant program working toward energy independence.
They heard the fourth-quarter investment report from Finance Director Jeff Hinson.
At Bertram’s request, they revised an ordinance passed during their last meeting. The revisions will allow for the display of certain “spirit banners” on municipal and school district property.
The Lockhart City Council routinely meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Conference Room of Lockhart City Hall. The meetings are open to the public, and televised on Time Warner Cable Channel 10.