Frequently Asked Questions
What is in the bond?
- $485 million bond referendum provides 686,000 sf of learning space to address growth needs and the area’s shortage of skilled workers.
- There will be no tax rate increase associated with the bond referendum.
Will my taxes go up?
- LSCS 2014-15 operating budget lowers tax rate this year by 7%:
- LSCS lowered the tax rate 6 out of the last 10 years.
- The current tax rate is lower than it was 15 years ago.
- New properties added to the tax rolls expand tax base enabling rate decrease.
How does the bond respond to growth?
- Lone Star College has grown by 50% over the last 5 years, adding more than 26,000 students according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
- We’ve added more than 33,565 credit students in the past 6 years – a 68% increase from fall 2007 to fall 2014, when the last bond measure was passed.
- We’ve added 5,197 credit students for a 7% increase in fall 14 and now have 82,818 credit students.
- In the past four years, the Lone Star College service area has grown by more than 176,000 people, which is more people than 39 US states added during the same time period. And another 242,000 are expected by 2019.
- LSCS must keep pace with area population and student enrollment growth.
- This is a plan for the future, the bond program is 5-8 year plan.
- Construction costs are increasing, postponing action will cost more in the future.
How does the bond meet workforce needs?
- A strong workforce equals a strong community.
- 41% of all jobs in the Houston region are middle skills jobs. That’s a total of 1.4 million out of Houston’s 3.6 million jobs.
- The Lone Star College area workforce has expanded by 9% in the past five years.
- Area employers need skilled workers and Lone Star College provides the education and training to meet their needs.
- There will be 74,177 annual job openings in middle skills occupations between now and 2017 in the Houston area according to the Greater Houston Partnership.
- These career occupations are in key regional industries like oil and gas, manufacturing, healthcare and transportation.
- All of these career opportunities require education and training beyond high school.
- 63% of all jobs will require education or training beyond high school by 2018.
- 84% of all emergency first responders and 2/3 of area nurses are trained at a two-year community college like Lone Star College.
- The community demand for first responders and healthcare professionals continues to grow.
- LSC needs facilities, equipment and infrastructure to meet the workforce education needs of the community.
How will the bond contribute to economic prosperity?
- Lone Star College adds $3.1 Billion in economic impact directly into the local community.
- $2.8 Billion of that economic impact is increased earnings for LSC students.
- 91% of our students stay in the local community after attending LSC.
- They spend money, pay taxes and buy homes in the community.
- Their enhanced skills and abilities increase the output of local employers.
- For every $1 spent/appropriated for LSC:
- $7.80 gained in added taxes and public sector savings for taxpayers
- $7.10 gained in added state income and social savings for society at large
- $6.60 gained in lifetime income for students
How will the finances be managed?
- AAA Bond Rating from Standard & Poor's:
- Enables LSCS to borrow money at lower interest rates
- Eight credit rating increases in last ten years
- Administrative operating expenses under 12%:
- One of the lowest in Texas
- Tax rate is lower than 15 years ago
- Received Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting each year since 2004
- New bonds will be sold over a period of five years as needed.
- Some existing bonds have already been paid off prior to their scheduled maturity dates.
- Some existing bonds have been renegotiated to lower interest rates
- Tax values included in the long-range debt plan are very conservative; tax revenues for debt exceed the estimate almost every year, allowing early payoffs
- Tax rate freeze for 65+ and disabled
What kind of community resources are in the bond?
- Dual credit programs for more than 8,000 area high school students
- 1 in 4 May graduates from area high schools attend Lone Star College in the fall.
- 78% of bachelor’s degrees in Texas are awarded to students that attended a community college.
- Educational programs for all ages; Academy of Lifelong Learning for residents 50+, Discovery College summer programs for youth