Accessibility for Pinal County residents is what defines Central Arizona College

October 17, 2008

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - For nearly 40 years, Central Arizona College has served Pinal County by providing high-quality, affordable educational programs.

From its beginning at the base of Signal Peak Mountain, the college has spread throughout the county to serve its community with three full-service campuses and six regional centers. Since the college welcomed its first class in 1969, nearly 15,000 students have earned degrees and certificates.

Now the institution is preparing for the future by expanding its academic and community programs, facilities and locations to make higher education accessible to all of Pinal County’s residents.

Central Arizona College has been charged by the community to provide higher education. With that task comes the responsibility of planning for the future in one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States.

From 2000-07, Pinal County’s population soared 82 percent with a 96 percent increase in school-aged children during that same span.

To keep pace with the growing population, demand for higher education, and the need to provide job training, Central Arizona College is planning to build two new campuses, upgrade and add classrooms at current locations, and expand the accessibility of its academic programs.
 
While the college has the ability to levy a property tax in support of its operational budget, large capital projects such as new campus construction must be approved by voters through a general obligation bond.

The Pinal County Community College District has reduced its operational property tax rate each of the last five years and currently operates with a tax levy far below the legal maximum tax levy.

The tax rate decreased 22 percent alone for 2008-09, meaning residents with a home that has a full cash value of $250,000 saw their taxes reduced $98 from $450 to $352.

The Pinal County Community College District - the official name of Central Arizona College – now is asking the voters of Pinal County to approve a $98,975,000, 25-year bond at the general election on Nov. 4, 2008. The institution has not issued any general obligation bond since 1972 and currently has no general obligation bond debt.

Should Pinal County voters elect to pass the bond, funds would be distributed in the following manner:

  • $20,000,000 to purchase two 100-200 acre sites in the city of Maricopa and the San Tan/Johnson Ranch area.
  • $37,360,000 for first-phase construction of educational space for new campuses in the city of Maricopa and the San Tan/Johnson Ranch area.
  • $20,420,000 for new educational space at the Superstition Mountain Campus in Apache Junction and additional educational space on the Signal Peak Campus located between Coolidge and Casa Grande.
  • $13,695,000 for the modernization and renovation of the Aravaipa, Signal Peak and Superstition Mountain campuses, and the Casa Grande Center.
  • $7,500,000 that will comprise a contingency fund.

How much will it cost taxpayers? Much less than the aforementioned tax reduction the Pinal County Community College Governing Board approved this year.

The projected first-year tax rate for the proposed bond authorization is 16.93 cents per $100 of net assessed value, while the average annual tax rate over the life of the 25-year bond is projected to be 10.95 cents per $100 of net assessed value.

The average tax impact over the term of the bonds on an owner-occupied residence valued by the county assessor at $250,000 is projected to be $27.38 per year for 25 years.

The average tax impact over the term of the bonds on a commercial property valued by the county assessor at $2,500,000 is projected to be $629.76 per year.

Central Arizona College’s goal is to provide access to higher education and job training for the residents of Pinal County. The institution strives to reach this goal through a variety of avenues, including academic programs, community outreach, convenient locations and low tuition.

Central Arizona College offers more than 80 certificate and degree programs and over 50 university transfer programs at an affordable rate of $60 per credit hour for in-state students. Classes may be taken in person, online, through iTV or as a hybrid utilizing multiple delivery methods.

CAC has partnerships with four-year state universities, expanded hours of service (8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday), evening classes and numerous scholarship opportunities.

Central Arizona Lifelong Learners, Weekend College, the Small Business Development Center and the One-Stop Skills Center in Casa Grande are just some of the many programs offered by Central Arizona College.

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