ACC appoints members to bond committee

After a lengthy discussion March 4, the Austin Community College board of trustees approved appointing 25 members to the Bond Program Advisory Committee for the potential Nov. 5 bond election.

The trustees also discussed whether committee members should have a spending limit if the board decided to move forward with the bond election.

Board President Jeffrey Richards said he wants to know if there is a scientific method of determining the best parameters for bond committees.

"There is an art and a science to this, and I see the art but not yet the science," he said.

ACC President Richard Rhodes said the committee would be given a complete list of the college's needs to start its discussion of what to include in the bond. The board also discussed the possibility of spreading out the facilities improvement projects over time. Trustees Victor Villarreal and Tim Mahoney brought up the idea of having the committee present a prioritized list to the board for facilities improvements.

At its Dec. 4 meeting, Mary Hensley, vice president of college operations, said that between April 2009 and November 2012, the board had 292 meetings to discuss the need for a bond election to fund a capital improvement program.

"I am very proud of how the college does work like this," Richards said of the board's decision process.

The board also received a presentation from Capital Metro about the sustainability and cost efficiency of the Green Pass Program. The Green Pass Program allows students, faculty and staff to ride Capital Metro buses at no additional cost and is covered by a student's sustainability fee, which is $1 per credit hour. The average cost per semester for students is $8, according to the ACC website.

Dan Dawson, Capital Metro vice president of marketing and communications, said ridership through the program has tripled in just more than two years.

"This is a huge success. The students at ACC have been really happy with this program," Dawson said.

Dawson attributed the success to the partnership between Capital Metro and ACC, because they have similar goals of increasing the program's sustainability and decreasing campus parking.

Although the college receives a significant discount from Capital Metro for the program, the cost of running it is taking up much of ACC's sustainability revenue. Trustee Alan Kaplan said he is against charging students a higher fee for the Green Pass Program, but an alternative might be to increase parking fees, as they are currently very low.

"We need more revenue. It's obvious where to get it," Kaplan said.

By Lyndsey Taylor
After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lyndsey began working as a reporter for the Northwest Austin edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2012. During her time as a reporter, she has covered Round Rock ISD, health care in the Austin metro area and Austin Community College. She was promoted to editor of the Cedar Park| Leander edition in 2015 and covers city and education news, including Leander ISD.


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