Because of an anonymous donor’s $1 million gift to the Texarkana College Foundation, the Texarkana College Board of Trustees will now consider a recommendation to accept the gift in lieu of approving the proposed tax rate increase for 2015-2016 at their Monday, Sept. 21 meeting. The meeting is set to begin in closed session at 11:30 a.m. with the regular session beginning at approximately 12:30 p.m. in the Truman Arnold Student Center on the TC campus.
“An anonymous donor in our community has come forward to virtually pay the tax increase for Bowie County citizens in 2015-2016,” said Kyle Davis, president of the TC Board of Trustees. “The board does not take a tax increase lightly, and this donor is making it possible for us to postpone an increase this year without negatively impacting the college’s financial wellbeing. This is a win-win situation for the college and for taxpayers in Bowie County. We’re floored by this donor’s generosity in absorbing this cost for our taxpayers.”
The $1 million gift brings Texarkana College and the TC Foundation to a total of more than $10 million in private donations over the past five years. The donations fund numerous student scholarships and have helped TC offset decreased state funding to achieve a balanced budget.
“This generous gift could not have come at a better time to help the college and give our citizens a much needed break from tax increases,” said Mike Craven, TC Foundation President. “This donor recognizes the critical work that’s done here every day to give students a chance of creating better lives for themselves and their families. We thank them, along with all of the donors who have helped us reach the $10 million mark, for supporting the college and our entire community.”
TC President James Henry Russell said the donor appreciates the taxpayers’ support of the college since the 2012 tax annexation and wants to see TC continue to offer students access to quality, affordable education to build a skilled workforce for our community.
“This incredible donation will allow us to balance our budget this year without raising the tax rate,” Russell said. “Moving forward, we’ll still consider tax rate increases in the future to create a more sustainable funding source so we don’t continue to rely on one-time donations.”
TC’s tax rate ranks among the lowest in the state compared to all other Texas community colleges, generating about $1,064 less revenue per student than the average Texas community college.
Russell said TC has taken drastic steps to balance the budget over the past four years, including cutting expenses, increasing tuition and expanding the tax district to include all of Bowie County. He said declining state appropriations have left TC short in revenue by more than $500,000 annually and unable to address several million dollars in deferred maintenance costs.
“This gift gives us more time to continue working with our state legislators to restore critically needed state funding before we resort to a tax rate increase,” Russell said. “The state’s cuts to community college funding have placed more of a burden on local property owners—not just here, but all over the state of Texas. This donation will give Bowie County citizens a welcome break from that cycle this year.”