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North Forest

HCC redistricting

Turns out that the HCC Trustees have done some work on redistricting for themselves. Their meeting agenda for May 19 lists “Resolution Accepting Draft Plans for Redistricting of HCCS Board of Trustees Districts and Confirming Public Hearings” as the fourth item under the Consent Agenda. You can see a copy of the draft plans here. There are three drafts, all of which looks pretty similar to me. If you’re wondering what North Forest and Alief ISDs have to do with anything, the answer is that they were annexed into the HCC system, in 2009 for North Forest and 2008 for Alief. That has the effect of enlarging HCC’s territory, so those areas must be incorporated into the new map.

There will be three public meetings to solicit feedback on the redistricting plans. Details about these hearings are here. I would presume, though I cannot say for sure, that some variant on one of these maps will be adopted at the next Board meeting on June 16. That’s all I know – if I hear any more, I’ll let you know.

Endorsement eatch: For HCC annexations

Missed this from Wednesday.

In this fall’s elections, voters in the Spring Branch and North Forest Independent School Districts are being asked to approve annexation of their respective districts into the Houston Community College System.

We believe the larger region has a stake in these elections and strongly encourage voters in both areas to cast their ballots in favor of annexation. The annexation effort has been community-driven in both districts and was unanimously approved in both cases by the HCC Board of Trustees.

[…]

The benefits of inclusion in the community college system are a genuine bargain. The system’s tax rate of just over nine cents per $100 of assessed value is the lowest among area community colleges. Residents over age 65 receive an exemption of up to $100,000 in addition to the 10 percent homestead exemption.

In Spring Branch, the annexation effort has been targeted for defeat by antitax crusaders wishing to draw the line against additional taxes. That is a shortsighted crusade: Education that helps the Houston area train a skilled job force is precisely the wrong place to draw lines.

Shortsightedness about taxes has never been an obstacle for some folks. I hope the fact that the Chron has taken a position on this issue, which only affects a relatively small number of voters, means that they will offer endorsements in the Alief, Cy-Fair, and other area ISD elections. The same type of antitax crusaders are at work in those elections as well – as noted in my interview with Sarah Winkler, this is the case in Alief in part because of a successful HCC annexation election in a previous cycle – and that needs to be more widely known.

By the way, I was able to easily find this endorsement editorial because the Chron has, for the first time I can recall, maintained a list of all their endorsements on the index page for the opinion section. Like the trend towards getting endorsements done before the start of Early Voting, I hope it’s something they keep doing. Kudos to whoever made it happen.