ACC saves three-story tree on Highland campus

On Sept. 22 Austin Community College relocated a three-story tree as part of their ongoing project to develop their Highland campus.

The 45-year-old live oak was located near the former Highland Mall and the former home of the House of Torment, at 523 E. Highland Mall Blvd. That area is now slated to become a parking garage for the college, according to ACC's Highland Campus plan.

ACC worked with construction company RedLeaf to move the roughly 90,000-pound tree and root ball to the St. Johns Encampment, a 2.5-acre park on the northeast side of the campus. At the corner of Hatfield Way and Delco Drive, it is across from the new city office building, according to ACC's press release.

Six trees have been transplanted across the approximately 80.8 acres—​​more than a million square feet of space—that ACC has been renovating, according to ACC's release. Others have been left in place and incorporated into parks, trails and open spaces. ACC purchased the Highland Campus and surrounding properties between 2010 and 2012.

The University of Texas will adit top 6% of Texas high school students

The University of Texas will continue to admit the top 6% of Texas high school students automatically.

On Sept. 14, UT president Jay Hartzell announced in a letter to the Texas Education Agency that the university would not change the percentage of students automatically admitted during the summer 2023, fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters. The cap is set at freshman applicants who rank within the top 6% of their high school graduating classes.

UT moved to the 6% threshold of qualified students in 2018. In the last ten years, automatic admission rates have fluctuated between 6%-9%, according to the letter.

In 2009, Senate Bill 157 adjusted the previously standing 10% rule—which required public Texas universities to admit the top 10% of graduating high school classes—to require 75% of university enrollment capacity to be designated for first-time, Texan undergraduate students.

Hartzell stated in the letter that university officials expect accepting students under the 6% rule will meet that 75% requirement.

Throughout the last decade, automatically accepted students have comprised 73%-80% of freshman enrollment, with 2014 being the only year where the district fell below the mandated 75% first-time, Texas undergraduate student requirement.

ACC approves lower tax rate

ACC’s board of trustees voted to lower its tax rate for fiscal year 2021-22 on Sept. 14.

The approved tax rate of $0.1048 per $100 of valuation includes $0.0900 for maintenance and operations and $0.0148 for debt service.

The rate is $0.001 less than the fiscal year 2020-21 rate of $0.1058.

According to ACC’s website, about 60% of its budget comes from property tax revenue. The rest of the budget comes from student tuition and state funding. The plan leaves tuition and fees at $67 per credit hour for in-district students.