Bond election ushers in a new era at Collin College

Reprinted with permission by Star Local Media, which published the opinion editorial in the May 2017 issues of Frisco Enterprise, Allen American, Plano Star Courier, McKinney Courier-Gazette and Celina Record

Dr. Neil H. Matkin
President, Collin College

This week marked the beginning of a new and exciting era in the history of Collin College. On May 6 the voters of Collin County approved Proposition 1, the Collin College Bond Issue. This $600 million bond referendum will pave the way for the construction of several new facilities and enable us to offer many additional academic and workforce programs. To the citizens of Collin County, we say “thank you!” We will work quickly and transparently to execute our master plan over the next five to seven years.

During the campaign we were frequently asked about the size and scope of the bond issue – in particular, how it would affect property taxes. Collin County’s population, commercial construction, and residential housing are growing rapidly, a trend that is expected to continue through 2040. Since the college is one of only two entities that levy property taxes countywide (the other being the county itself), we anticipate an expanding tax base because of that growth. As a result, the college projects little or no impact on tax rates through 2024, and potential reductions thereafter due to the growth of Collin County.

Collin College’s financial history is strongly conservative, as is its future. We offer the lowest tuition rate of all 50 community college districts in the state, and the second-lowest property tax rate. Our Board of Trustees has held the line on tuition and tax rates for 32 years and is committed to doing so in the future. The result is a thriving, growing institution of higher education that serves more than 53,000 students and generates more than $525 million in economic benefits for Collin County each year.

In April we broke ground on our new Public Safety Training Center in McKinney, which will provide state-of-the-art training for our fire and police academy cadets as well as for first responders throughout the area. In the years ahead we will also build: the Collin Technical Center in Allen, planned to operate in collaboration with the Allen, Frisco, McKinney and Plano ISDs to offer critical academic and workforce training opportunities; a full campus in Wylie; appropriately sized education centers in Celina and Farmersville; and an Information Technology Center on the Preston Ridge Campus in Frisco.

There will be many new academic and workforce programs introduced, and a number of physical improvements at our existing facilities, including veterans centers.

These are truly monumental times for Collin College and the entire county. The passage of the bond will enable us to keep pace with the growth of Collin County, while remaining dedicated to our vision of “delivering a brighter future for our students and our communities.”

Collin College is your college, and we thank you for your support.