Starr County voters push South Texas College bonds to victory

Voting figures // South Texas College

Bonds for South Texas College were defeated in Hidalgo County but pushed to victory thanks to voters in Starr County.

The South Texas College District includes both counties.

Two proposals up for a vote on Tuesday were both defeated in Hidalgo County but approved by overwhelming margins in Starr County.

Proposal 1 Proposal 2 Hidalgo County For 8,163 7,963 Against 8,423 8,872 Starr County For 3,252 2,997 Against 783 990 Total For 11,145 10,960 Against 9,206 9,862

Proposal 1 was to approve $159 in bonds for the construction of new buildings on all five campuses while Proposal 2 was to raise property taxes to pay for maintenance and operations.

According to figures from South Texas College, a total property tax hike of 3.5 cents per hundred dollars of property value will now go into place.

The increase is equivalent to $35 per year for a $100,000 home.

Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal posted pictures of ecstatic voters in Starr County.

Residents in Starr County reported viewed the proposals as a source of vocational training, jobs and a way to diversify the economy for local residents.

South Texas College President Dr. Shirley Reed said the school administrators were equally excited.

Dr. Reed said the plans for the new buildings have already been drawn up but administrators will now need to sell the bonds in financial markets.

New buildings are planned at all five campuses where overcrowding has become a problem for the college's 31,000 students.

The college's Starr County campus will receive a new library and a science & technology building.

South Texas College's enrollment is expected to grow to 42,000 students by 2020.

"We're changing lives," Dr. Reed said. "We're changing families. We're changing our community."

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