Amarillo College Bond Could Affect Senior Care

The three largest retirement communities in Amarillo are urging voters to check the "yes" box for the Amarillo College bond.
   "This is a very cheap insurance policy for seniors to get the quality of care they need in our communities," said Tyler Kendall, with the Bivins Foundation. 
   A majority of the $68 million that would come from the bond if passed would go towards improving Amarillo College's nursing facilities, and train desperately needed nurses.
   The bond would increase taxes by 2.66 cents per $100.  That means a home worth $100,000 will increases a homeowners taxes by $26 each year.
   Expanding the program would allow 105 more nurses to graduate from the school each year, according to AC officials.  The hope is that the increase will put a dent in the shortage of 71,000 registered nurses by 2020 if current graduate rates continue, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board.
   "It's important to look forward and think of the future but Amarillo has always been
great about doing that and I know that if people get out and vote we'll be fine this will pass," said John Huffaker, with the Co-Chair Friends of Amarillo College.
   The Bivins Foundation, the Sears Methodist Retirement, Inc., and Baptist Community Services are all throwing their support behind the bond.
   They're concerned that a shortage of nurses will only get worse if money is not thrown into improving facilities and attracting faculty. 
   "It's not that there are not ample folks but finding quality people, particularly people that are employed from Amarillo College are vital to our success to provide quality services to the seniors in our communities," said Kendall.
   The retirement agencies also say their future depends on an increase in quality nurses. 
   "It will be great to have more nurses to pull from be able to grow and we
are planning expansion so it will be 
   Homeowners over 65 years old will not be affected by the bond if it passes. The tax freeze passed last year exempts them from this proposed tax increase, according to Huffaker.