DCCCD seeks $1.1 billion bond approval

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A $1.1 billion bond program goes before Dallas County voters May 4, with early voting April 22-30. Dallas County Community College (DCCCD) trustees moved the package forward at their Feb. 4 meeting.

DCCCD Chief Financial Officer John Robertson said that if voters approve the package, the bonds will be released for sale in four separate series over six years starting in 2020.

“There is still a lot of work that has to be done. The board will review the capital budget for the bonds at their June workshops. More information should be available at that time,” Robertson said.

He said plans for use of the funds have not been finalized and will not be allocated until the outcome of the election is known.

The funding package will not raise the current property tax rate and will fund district-wide improvements to support increasing enrollment, student learning success and workforce readiness, while expanding the available labor pool for area businesses, according to a district press release.

About half of the general obligation bonds, $535 million, is earmarked for an Education and Innovation Hub in downtown Dallas next to the El Centro campus, which would be redesigned. It would include a Business Training Center to meet the needs of North Texas companies and encourage entrepreneurship. Robertson said that once the construction has started, it should be complete in 24 to 30 months.

Another $332 million is targeted to student needs, such as increases in the Early College High School (ECHS) and Dallas County Promise programs that help students reduce debt as they earn degrees and certificates.

“ECHS growth is a big factor across all campuses. It will be a priority,” Robertson said.

In Fall 2018, Richland had 276 students in the Dallas County Promise program and 370 students in the ECHS, according to Katie Storms, manager of district digital marketing and college communications at Richland.

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A fact sheet on the bond package showed DCCCD expects to accommodate an additional 12,000 students, increasing enrollment by 15% from 80,000 in fall 2018 to 92,000 in 2030.

The remainder of the package, $235 million, would be for industry-aligned workforce projects and programs including allied health, culinary, early childhood education, corporate training and business development, construction trades and advanced manufacturing encompassing machining, welding, logistics and artificial intelligence (AI).

DCCCD’s most recent general obligation (GO) bonds were authorized by Dallas County voters 15 years ago in the amount of $450 million. Additional information about the May 4 bond election is available online at www.dcccd.edu/bond/pages/default.aspx.