Texarkana College seeks voter approval of tax measure - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Texarkana College seeks voter approval of tax measure

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TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) -

The survival of one ArkLaTex college may rest on the outcome of next Tuesday's election, when voters in Bowie County, Texas will be asked to make up a loss in state funding.

Earlier this year, Texarkana native and billionaire Ross Perot donated $1 million to Texarkana Community College and promised to give the school another $4 million if voters approve a measure to expand the college tax district.

Texarkana Community College President James Russell says, "We are taking this annexation election to Bowie County, where approximately 70 percent of our students come from."

Russell has served as college president for more than one year. In that time he's made a number of changes, including cutting employees.

"Over the past three years you did see a lot of excess spending at the college. We have firmly got that back under control. We are actually spending less today than we did five years ago," Russell says.

Since 1927, the college has received tax money from a 16-square-mile area in Texarkana, Texas. But Russell says the college's service area is 1,800 square miles, and now they need help from that area.

Texas voter Wesley Richardson agrees: "I think everybody ought to pay a little bit all through this area because it is important to their family and the people who go to college there.

Gerald Gomer says, "I'm all for it, and right now it is to better the community and broaden the horizon."

Russell says Texarkana Community College has the lowest tax rate in the State of Texas.

If approved, the tax will cost a person about $100 a year for a house valued at $100,000.

"While it is not a large tax, we are asking for this small bit of support," Russell says.

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