LSCS trustees, presidents discuss hurricane aftermath during monthly board meeting

Despite Hurricane Harvey’s destruction within the Lone Star College System, enrollment is up 4 percent this semester, LSCS Chancellor Steve Head said.

“Our priority was to keep the students in school and make sure that they come back,” Head said.

Although all campuses sustained some minor damages due to Hurricane Harvey—like roof leaks—the LSC-Kingwood campus was hit hardest, taking on water in six buildings, two parking structures and three sports field areas, LSC-Kingwood President Katherine Persson said.

It could take more than 12 months for LSC-Kingwood to become fully operational again, and the cost of systemwide damages is estimated at $25-$30 million, LSCS Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Olenick said.

In an effort to keep students enrolled at the Kingwood location, students have been encouraged to take courses online instead of in-person, Persson said. LSC-Kingwood has 12,860 students enrolled—an increase of 5 percent since last year. Since Harvey, online enrollment has shifted from 22 to 61 percent with in-person enrollment shifting from 72 to 21 percent, Persson said.

As officials continue to monitor the situation and the longterm financial effects the storm will have on LSCS, the board is preparing to set the system’s fiscal year 2017-18 tax rate. The proposed rate is 10.78 cents per $100 valuation, which is consistent with last year’s rate.

The final vote for the tax rate will take place during the Oct. 5 regular board meeting. For more information and to view last night’s board meeting in its entirety, visit www.lonestar.edu/trustees.
By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.