When Pflugerville City Council Member Jim McDonald went out in his community to gather signatures on a petition to include all of Pflugerville ISD in the Austin Community College district, he said the first reaction he got was skepticism that he was selling something.
The second reaction he got, McDonald said, was “it’s about time.”
On Monday night, a group of Pflugerville residents presented the Austin Community College board of trustees with a petition with 3,556 signatures to include the entire Pflugerville ISD inside the ACC district, beginning a process that could lead to a ballot measure in front of Pflugerville voters this November. ACC staff validated 2,710 of those signatures, which equaled five percent of registered voters in the area, the amount required by law to make the petition valid.
Currently, only the section of Pflugerville ISD located in the city of Austin is part the ACC district.
If the remaining area of Pflugerville ISD joins the district, residents in those areas will contribute property taxes to ACC. Currently, ACC’s tax rate is $0.1008 per $100 of assessed property valuation. According to a draft service plan that describes information to potential voters, a property owner with a home worth $200,000 – the average home value in Pflugerville – would pay about $17 per month in additional taxes.
In return for contributing those property tax revenues, residents inside the ACC district have significantly a lower cost to access ACC services than out-of-district residents. Tuition and fees for in-district students are $2,550 per academic year, while out-of-district students pay $10,890 per year.
A group of about a dozen individuals involved in the effort to bring Pflugerville ISD into the ACC district into the were in attendance at Monday night’s board meeting,. Speakers included Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion, Pflugerville ISD board of trustees member Rob Reyes and Pat Epstein, chair of the group that led the effort.
Epstein said there was significant momentum in her community to bring ACC services to the area, and in time she hoped a satellite campus could be included in Pflugerville as well.
“We want a physical presence in our community. We will go out and make it happen in our community, but we need your help to make it happen,” Epstein told the board.
The board of trustees voted unanimously to publish a service plan disseminating information to voters. The board also laid out the timeline for potentially bringing the matter to a vote in November.
On July 9 at 5 p.m., the board will hold a public hearing in Pflugerville, giving residents a chance to share their views. On Aug. 13, at its regular monthly meeting, the board will vote to decide whether to call a November election.