Out-of-district tuition will decrease in fall 2017.
By Wally Perez
The Alamo Colleges board of trustees approved a tax rate for fiscal year 2016-17, which includes rebalancing the maintenance and operation (M&O) tax rate and the debt tax rate, during the monthly board meeting Tuesday in Killen.
The approval required a roll call vote, which passed with eight out of nine votes for the item. District 4 trustee Marcelo Casillas left early and wasn’t present for the vote.
Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the combined tax rate for FY 2016-17 will be $0.149150/$100, the same as last year’s.
“There are just changes in the M&O and the debt tax rate based on what the debt payments are,” Snyder said.
The M&O tax rate is being increased to $0.107760/$100 by reallocating $0.00246/$100 from the debt rate, which is now $0.04139/$100.
“We rebalance based on the refinances we’re doing,” Snyder said. “We always look at our debt payments.”
Snyder said the tax rate was rebalanced from the M&O side to the debt side a couple of years ago.
“We hadn’t issued the debt for the district support operations building, which wasn’t approved at the time,” Snyder said.
Snyder said now that the design phase has begun with that building, the tax rate is being rebalanced because in the coming year, they are going to start issuing the debt to pay for construction.
The M&O funds facilities operations, which the state doesn’t pay for because the district has the tax ability to pay for facilities, Snyder said.
Every year, a tax rate is set based on projections of the Bexar County Appraisal District based on the tax roll of properties in Bexar County.
In layman’s terms, if a house is valued at $100,000, and the tax rate is set at $0.149150/$100, the tax on the house would be $149.15.
The reallocation will provide additional funds for financing the district support operations building while maintaining sufficient tax proceeds for current and anticipated debt service.
The combined effective rate will be raised by 5.21 percent and will raise combined taxes on a $100,000 home by approximately $7.38.
Two public hearings were Sept. 8 and Sept. 13, as required, but no members of the public attended.
In other business, a decrease to out-of-district tuition was approved which will lower the cost for students who take three, six, nine, 12 and 15 credit hours.
According to the approved minute order, the purpose of the decrease is to balance the tuition rate for out-of-district students, which will take effect in fall 2017.
Under the new rates, students who take three to six credit hours will see a decrease from $1,231 to $1,184.
Students who take nine credit hours will see a drop from $1,781 to $1,624; students taking 12 hours will drop from $2,327 to $2,052; and students who take 15 hours will drop from $2,872 to $2,477.
The approved decrease is projected to add 724 out-of-district students to the current 4,817.
In other business, the board unanimously approved the draft capital improvement plan (CIP) project list and the initiation of a citizens’ bond advisory committee.
The purpose of the project list is to determine which projects should be included in the CIP.
The citizens’ bond advisory committee will then review such projects.
Total project costs for each of the colleges are $82 million including the first responder’s academy for this college; $66 million for Palo Alto College; $55 million for Northeast Lakeview College; $81 million for Northwest Vista College, $23 million for the North Central Campus and $70 million for St. Philip’s College, including the Southwest Campus.
The Westside education and training center renovation and expansion adds $22 million and the Southside education and training center, $11 million for land, $3 million for safety and security and $25 million for technology.
This brings the total to $438 million, but leaves $12 million for a waitlist of projects.