ACC Campus on Round Rock Ballot

Round Rock voters will decide what could be ACC's largest campus

After a whirlwind courtship, Austin Com­mun­ity College and Round Rock-area residents may finally tie the knot if voters on Saturday approve annexation of prime city and Williamson Co. property into the education district. With hat in hand, ACC President Stephen Kinslow came calling during a public hearing Jan. 31, offering a more chivalrous proposal than previously floated. Under the plan, ACC would buy the land as a good-faith gesture and break ground on a flagship campus almost immediately, if annexation passes.

The relationship between the two entities got off to a rocky start, when ACC initially pitched taxpayers a property-tax hike for the exalted privilege of being included in the district. A trial survey documented much resistance to citizens paying almost 10 cents per $100 valuation, so discussions were suspended, according to Raymond Hartfield, who co-chairs ACCtion 4 Education.

Playing hard to get may have paid off for Round Rock residents. Hartfield said ACC then promised to buy 62 acres at the corner of University Boulevard and County Road 112, on which it would build its biggest campus to date, housing more than 10,000 students. After all, ACC reasoned, the district already enrolls more than 5,000 students annually at ACC, so it wouldn't be difficult to fill the large campus in fast-growing Round Rock. More­over, the new campus would open its doors months before the first tax bill came due, according to Hartfield. The sweet talk worked. Community activists marshaled a petition drive garnering more than 8,000 signatures, twice the required number, by extolling such benefits as easy access to quality education for a fraction of the cost. Indeed, all Round Rock ACC students would start getting the 60% tuition reduction once the issue passes. And, the business community could better entice new ventures to the city with a labor-pool-in-training at hand, says Hartfield. He indicated that the medical industry is eager to have a full-fledged nursing school located near the city's three major hospitals, for example.

All is not bliss, however – some residents oppose tax increases that fund others' education. Let them get grants, said one recent letter to the editor in the Round Rock Leader. Sensitive to "social burdens" that saddle busy single parents, Hartfield counters that, for many, commuting to far-flung campuses is not an option. "Sit in your homes, and wallow in your family values, and tell me that's not a fact," the gentlemanly Hartfield said. He also noted that some opponents erroneously claim ACC could build a campus anyway and didn't really need the tax boost.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Austin Community College
$406M ACC Budget Increases Pay Across the Board
$406M ACC Budget Increases Pay Across the Board
College employees receive 3% raise, hourly workers bumped to $15 an hour

Austin Sanders, July 12, 2019

ACC Teaches Without Textbooks
ACC Teaches Without Textbooks
Open-source resources help keep education affordable

Austin Sanders, Dec. 21, 2018

More by Patricia J. Ruland
TP&W Responds to Racism Allegations
TP&W Responds to Racism Allegations
Department director was 'deeply disturbed by the explosive ... allegations'

Sept. 7, 2012

Parks, Wildlife, and Racism
Parks, Wildlife, and Racism
Wardens recount longstanding, institutional discrimination against African-Americans at TP&W

Aug. 10, 2012

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

election, Austin Community College, ACC, Round Rock

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle