Texarkana College leaders hope to raise taxes to help fund school

Texarkana College leaders hope to raise taxes to help fund school

TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) - After years in the red, Texarkana Community College is now financially stable, thanks to generous donations.

But to keep moving forward, leaders are asking for more money.

The additional cash would mean a tax increase for Bowie County residents.

Enrollment is on the rise at Texarkana College in Bowie County, Texas. Three days into the new semester, some 6,000 students have registered.

In an effort to keep the college strong, the school's board of trustees is increasing the tax rate for Bowie County residents.

Texarkana College President James Henry Russell says the increase will cost an average property owner an extra 43 cents a month.

"It is a very small increase. We still have the lowest tax rate of any community college in East Texas and actually one of the lowest ones in the state of Texas," said Russell.

For the past 5 years, as part of a pledge from H. Ross Perot, the college has received $1 million a year. President Russell says the pledge has been honored and it is time for the college to make up financial shortfall, which is the reason for the tax increase in Bowie County.

"Now it is going to be up to the citizens of Cass County if they want to partner with us," said Russell.

The college board is also calling for an election to bring Cass County into the Texarkana College tax district. Russell said if voters say yes by 2018, Texarkana College will open a workforce center bringing higher education to Cass County.

"Every dime from this will be spend on Cass County residents and we are excited for this opportunity. The main reason what we are doing in Bowie and Cass counties is trying to make this community viable for the future so we could have just a good of future that we've had in the past," explained Russell.

Russell said college leaders plan to hold public meetings in Cass County between now and the November election.

He said if any group would like to schedule a meeting, they can contact his office on the Texarkana College campus.

Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.