McKinney November 2020

EDUCATION Across Collin County, economically disadvantaged students have a harder time accessing higher education, the study showed.

1 IN 4 public school students are economically disadvantaged.

Economically disadvantaged students drop out at three times

the rate of their peers. 3X

C O L O R S O F

emotions for a lot of our business own- ers,” Hermes said. There is still a risk for local small businesses that may not be able to maintain payroll or rent, which could potentially lead to additional unem- ployment, the study states. “Small-business owners may not have the reserves necessary to pay the rent, pay the light bill, and a lot of help has been given their way, but some- times, it’s not enough to o # set some of the losses of income,” Hermes said. ‘Distinctlydi ! erent but equally tragic’ Equity gaps among residents are also widening in Collin County, the report shows. The bottom " fth of earners, or residents who live at or below the pov- erty level, saw a 6% decline in income from 2006 to 2017. Hispanic residents are three times as likely to experience poverty as white residents and twice as likely as Black or Asian residents, Bee- son said. It is likely these gaps have only worsened, the study stated. Grimes said the city of McKinney is aware of the local income dispar- ity. The city recently commissioned a study from Root Policy Research, which found that the issue of a lack of a # ordable housing in McKinney has been exacerbated by the pandemic, he said. Local nonpro " ts have also said the need for their services has increased since the pandemic began. The need “escalated overnight,” said McKinney City Council Member Scott Elliott, who is also the executive director of the McKinney nonpro " t Community Lifeline Center. The cen- ter o # ers rent and utility assistance as well as food to those in need. “Just that " rst month or two, we were distributing " ve to 10 times as much food as we were pre-COVID,” Elliott said. The pandemic has a # ected every- one, regardless of their income or race, he said. “We got a lot of folks calling that started out the conversation with, ‘I have never,’ or, ‘I’ve always been the giver; I’ve never asked for help,’” Elliott said. “So, not to a great extent, but [the pandemic] actually a # ectedmiddle- to middle-upper-class folks, as well, who

suddenly found their jobs gone as a result of COVID—so, two distinctly dif- ferent but equally tragic e # ects.” Community Lifeline Center and other area nonpro " ts still face a high level of need, which is not expected to decrease anytime soon, Elliott said. “2020 has been a horri " c year,” Elliott said. “2021, I think, from a com- munity-needs standpoint, is not going to be much better.” Educationand incomegaps The percentage of economically dis- advantaged students is increasing over time in some Collin County school dis- tricts, per the study. In McKinney ISD, one third of all students are economi- cally disadvantaged. Per the report, such students are three times more likely to drop out of school than the average student. Only 15% of economically disadvantaged students went on to earn a college or vocational degree after graduating in 2018. “Post-secondary education is increasingly necessary in today’s econ- omy, and students who don’t have a degree or higher [education] certi " - cate will struggle to earn family-sus- taining wages,” Beeson said. At Collin College, steps have been taken to better serve the community, District President Neil Matkin said. Some changes, such as building more campuses to provide better access, had begun before the study was released, Matkin said. Collin College had access to some of the drafts of the study, which in $ u- enced conversations related to the future of the college, he said. “We were already adding, and we’re still adding, additional access points, including ... [the] " rst-ever [centrally located], technical-focused facility with a whole wealth of new program- ming that we believe [is] going to expand opportunities,” Matkin said. Construction on the college’s new Farmersville campus is nearing com- pletion; when operational, the campus will help to address some of the socio- economic challenges in the more rural parts of the county.

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