In November 2016, voters in Texarkana College’s service area in Cass County (including Atlanta, Bloomburg, Linden-Kildare, McLeod and Queen City ISDs) will have the opportunity to choose whether to become part of Texarkana College’s tax district.

Texarkana College is seeking to annex its service area in Cass County in order to increase programs and services that will make higher education more accessible and affordable for the area’s citizens. Below, you’ll see the benefits of joining the TC District, along with a Cass County Annexation FAQ.

Benefits of Joining the Texarkana College District

New Site in Cass County

If voters choose to join the district, TC will develop a learning site in Cass County offering a 5-week professional truck driving academy and full 1-year certificates in welding, cosmetology, and licensed vocational nursing, with room for program expansion based on local business and industry needs.

Average annual salaries for those careers are:

  • Professional Truck Driving: $33,000
  • Welding: $36,000
  • Cosmetology: $27,000
  • Licensed Vocational Nursing: $38,000

Lower Tuition Rates

Students in the area will pay lower in-district tuition rates, amounting to savings of approximately $3,000 over two years.

Expanded Dual Credit in High Schools

High school students in the area will have access to a wider range of college dual credit courses at a fraction of the cost of traditional college tuition.

Board Representation

Cass County voters in the TC service area would have representation on the TC Board of Trustees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Texarkana College proposing this annexation?

Texarkana College’s highest priority is increasing the number of people with higher education credentials in our region. View our strategic plan.

Texarkana College is doing its part to help achieve 60x30TX, the state’s higher education strategic plan endorsed by Governor Greg Abbott. 60x30TX calls for 60% of Texans ages 25-34 to possess a college credential by the year 2030 in order to create an attractive climate for business and industry growth for Texas to remain a great place to live and work. A college credential is defined as any college training leading to a professional license, certificate or degree.

Though Northeast Texans have many options to earn a higher education credential in the region, this area has lower education rates than any other part of the state. Cass County’s high school graduation rates are on par with state averages, but its higher education attainment is not. In Cass County, 18.3% of people ages 25+ have earned an associate degree or higher, compared to 33.6% in Texas and 37.2% in the United States. This number is decreasing in Cass County, along with the county’s population. Cass County public schools are doing an excellent job ensuring that residents graduate from high school. However, many high school graduates simply can’t afford college or don’t have reliable transportation to get to class.

Texarkana College is seeking to annex its service area in Cass County in order to increase programs and services that will make higher education more accessible and affordable for the area’s citizens.

Who does the proposed measure affect?

Those living in the following ISDs:

  • Atlanta ISD
  • Bloomburg ISD
  • Linden-Kildare ISD
  • McLeod ISD
  • Queen City ISD

What programs would be available at the new Cass County site?

Initially, TC would offer a 5-week truck driving academy and full 1-year certificates in welding, cosmetology, and licensed vocational nursing in Cass County, with room for expansion. These programs are a starting point based on feedback from business and education leaders in Cass County. Because it takes some time to build full enrollment in new programs, TC is committed to operating these programs in Cass County regardless of initial student enrollment numbers.

How will this affect tuition rates for students in this area?

Students in TC’s service area in Cass County would begin paying in-district tuition rates and could expect an average tuition savings of $3,000 over two years.

Will Cass County tax dollars pay for student scholarships or free tuition?

No. Students in the area will pay tuition at a rate that is on par with average community college tuition rates across Texas. While this annexation would provide discounted tuition for Cass County residents, it would not provide free college for anyone. Some TC students receive federal financial aid, and many work one or more jobs to pay for their tuition and to help support their families. Tax income does not and will not pay for scholarships. The Texarkana College Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds from private donors to support scholarships and college activities, provides scholarships for Texarkana College students. No taxpayer dollars support student tuition or scholarships. In fact, TC students are paying tuition rates that sit right at the state average, while TC’s tax rate falls far below the state average. Community colleges across the state have had to raise tuition rates to compensate for decreased funding from the Texas legislature. Because state funding has decreased, today’s students pay a larger percentage of their educational costs than previous generations.

What is dual credit?

Dual credit courses allow high school students to enroll in a college course and simultaneously earn college credit and high school credit for the course at a fraction of the cost of typical university tuition. Dual credit courses are offered by accredited colleges (like TC) and include both academic and career/technical courses that are taught by qualified college instructors. While most students take basic core courses such as English, history, math and social science, coursework may include areas such as culinary arts or welding, depending on the school district’s resources and proximity to TC campuses.

How would annexation affect dual credit in Cass County?

TC’s goal is to offer the full academic core—42 hours of basic college courses that will transfer to most public institutions—at every high school in the Cass County portion of its service area. At the average public university in Texas, 42 college credit hours would cost about $12,160*. The average in-district cost of 42 college credit hours via TC dual credit is less than $1,400. That means an average potential savings of more than $10,700 for families of students who intend to complete a 4-year degree. The proposed TC Cass County site would offer welding, cosmetology and licensed vocational nursing to both traditional students and dual credit students. These opportunities are currently limited due to the transportation time and cost to bring students to the main campus in Texarkana. The proximity of the TC Cass County site would allow TC to expand those programs to more high school students in the area.

* College for All Texans

How many Cass County students does TC serve?

TC currently serves more than 640 Cass County students in academic courses and workforce programs. Over the past 5 years, TC has served an average of 600+ students per year. These numbers do not include Cass County students who have enrolled in professional academies (Fire Academy, Professional Driving Academy, EMT Academy) or continuing education programs.

Who does TC serve?

TC is proud to serve new graduates from high schools in our service area, adults of all ages who choose to return to college to work toward a higher salary and a better life for their family, and students who are returning home after spending some time at a 4-year institution. TC’s Community & Business Education Center provides noncredit courses for children and adults of all ages, along with training and professional development for healthcare professionals and customized workforce training for local businesses and industries.

How much would joining the district cost my family?

Property owners would begin paying an estimated tax rate of $0.111285 in Fall 2017. On average, a $75,000 home would pay less than $85 in TC taxes per year. To estimate the amount of taxes you would pay, plug your appraised property value into the calculator in the right-hand column of this page.

What exemptions are available?

Please note that this tax would not impact any other homestead exemptions you claim with other taxing entities (such as your local school district). The following exemptions would only apply to the Texarkana College tax. If voters choose to join the district, TC would offer a $5,000 homestead exemption to those who are disabled and seniors ages 65+. That amount would also be frozen for the disabled and seniors ages 65+ after the first year for as long as they own that home and do not make major improvements. For example, if your house is valued by the appraisal district at $105,000 and you are 65+ or disabled, you would be taxed at $100,000 (paying approximately $110 per year), and your tax bill would be frozen after the first year as long as you own that home and do not make major improvements.

When would we begin paying the tax?

If voters approve the November ballot measure, the tax will be effective beginning January 2017 and will appear on your October 2017 tax bill.

Will this tax rate increase yearly?

Texarkana College currently has the lowest tax rate of any college in East Texas and one of the lowest in the state. Throughout its existence, the College has maintained an extremely conservative tax rate. The Board of Trustees does not take raising a tax rate lightly—they have indicated that taxpayers could expect very small increases every 4-5 years. Potential increases would be much smaller and much less frequent than those of any other local taxes you currently pay.

You would also have the protection of the rollback tax law. Per Texas Education Code, TC cannot raise the rate more than 8% each year without voter approval. The Texas Legislature will likely be voting on whether to lower that amount to 4% in the next legislative session, affording taxpayers even more protection.

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How much income would this tax create?

This tax would generate about $1.5 million annually. Approximately $500,000 would be used to compensate for loss in tuition income from moving Cass County students from out-of-district to in-district tuition rates. This amounts to a net income of about $1 million.

How would my tax money be spent?

TC would reinvest Cass County tax dollars into programs and services that directly benefit Cass County students: development of the TC Cass County learning site and training equipment; building debt, maintenance and upkeep; personnel at Cass County locations; necessary equipment upgrades to ensure that programs remain cutting edge; future development of new programs based on the unique needs of Cass County business and industry partners; and costs associated with increased dual credit offerings for area high schools. Tax income would also support TC on Main in Downtown Atlanta. TC is committed to reinvesting Cass County tax dollars into facilities and programs that will benefit Cass County residents.

How will this affect the economy in Cass County?

Studies show that a person’s level of education can have a huge impact on that person’s life and community. Higher levels of education lead to better jobs with benefits (like health insurance and paid leave), higher earnings, better health, and lower unemployment rates. Communities with low education levels tend to have shortages in healthcare providers and facilities, higher crime rates, higher incarceration rates, higher mortality rates, and fewer jobs. When you look at the data, you’ll see that you can’t afford to live in a community with low education rates.

Businesses and industries often cite an educated workforce as a key factor in deciding whether to build in a community—a business without trained and employable workers cannot operate. Businesses are attracted to communities with a steady supply of trained workers.

I don’t have a college-aged child. How will this affect me?

A community with higher education rates benefits everyone. Accessible higher education supplies a community with a highly qualified workforce, such as nurses/healthcare providers and welding technicians. Qualified workers attract businesses and industries and ensure that residents have access to vital services, such as good health care with well-trained nurses. Investing tax dollars in higher education is much less expensive than the tax dollars required to support a community with high unemployment, poverty and incarceration rates. Again, when you look at the data, you’ll see that you can’t afford to live in a community with low education rates.

What would happen in Cass County if the annexation measure does not pass?

If Cass County voters choose not to join the TC District, TC will not finalize the purchase of the proposed TC Cass County site or offer workforce programs in Cass County. Students in Cass County will continue to pay higher out-of-district tuition rates. Access to workforce training dual credit programs for high school students will remain limited due to the time constraints of busing students long distances to the TC main campus in Texarkana, and expansion of academic dual credit classes will be limited. Cass County residents will not have representation on the TC Board of Trustees. The percentage of Cass County citizens with a higher education credential will likely remain flat and continue to remain far below regional, state and national averages.

What would happen to Texarkana College if the annexation measure does not pass?

Because Cass County tax dollars would be spent in Cass County and TC operates on a balanced budget, this would have no impact on the College’s financial situation. TC would continue business as usual while working to increase programs and services for residents who pay taxes to support the college (currently all of Bowie County).

Notice about Advertising Expenses

All informational advertising, (including but not limited to mailings, brochures, signs and digital advertising) regarding the Cass County annexation are funded by the Texarkana College Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support College programs and scholarships via private donations and investments. No TC tax dollars support the TC Foundation or the informational campaign regarding the Cass County annexation.

Cass County Tax Rate Calculations

Tax Rate 0.111285
Taxable Property Value $
Annual Property Taxes
$
Monthly Property Taxes
$

This amount is an estimate and does not take into account any property tax exemptions or special circumstances. For specific questions about your property value (whether you own or rent that property), please contact the Cass County Appraisal District at: http://www.casscad.org/.

Cass County Service Plan

For any questions or comments related to the Cass County Service Plan.