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Governmental Relations

Legislative Update - Friday, March 11, 2011

Additional Cuts Proposed for Current Fiscal Year

An additional state revenue shortfall of $4.3 billion during the CURRENT fiscal year has led to the introduction of HB 4 that enacts additional cuts for the CURRENT Fiscal Year.  The cuts to community colleges would be $76 million in formula funding reductions.  For the Alamo Colleges, the cut amounts to $6.8 million for the CURRENT Fiscal Year.  This proposed cut is in addition to the state mandated cut of 5 percent last January and 2.5 percent last fall.

Use of Rainy Day Fund

HB 275 has been introduced that would allow the drawing of funds from the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) that would avert the cuts proposed in HB 4.  The cuts proposed in HB 1 would still apply.

Higher Education Outcomes-Based Funding Act (Momentum Points Funding)

CSHB 9 was reported favorably out of committee and will now be placed on the calendar to be heard before the full House.  CSHB 9  would allow the state to withhold a portion of formula funding to be reapportioned based on community colleges outcomes such as, the successful completion of: developmental education in Math, successful completion of developmental education in English, successfully passing with a grade of “C” or higher the first college level Math course, the first college level English course, completion of the first 30 semester hours, transfer to a four-year college or university after successful completion of at least 15 semester credit hours and the total number of associate degrees and certificates awarded.

Alamo Colleges Information Technology and Security Academy (ITSA) Team Recognition

The House and Senate, through House Resolution No. 754 by Representative Castro and through Senate Resolution No. 385 by Senators Van de Putte, Uresti, Wentworth, and Zaffirini congratulated a team of ITSA students that placed first in the inaugural Mayor’s Cyber Cup at the  regional CyberPatriot III competition.  The team will now travel to the national championship in Maryland from March 31 – April 2, 2011.  CyberPatriot III was created to inspire students to pursue careers in cyber security or in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Members of the group include Clint Sierra (Warren High School), Lawrence Roberts (Warren High School), Mario Puente III (Brennan High School), Jose Ricardo Banda (Southwest High School), and Robert Flores, Jr. (Judson High School).

Higher Education Committee Testimony

Pat Major, District Director of Internal Audit, testified on HB 650 relating to amending the Property Code to include community colleges that would allow junior colleges to retain property presumed abandoned and valued at $100 or less.  Melissa Weathersby, Director of Corporate Training & Continuing Education at Northeast Lakeview College, testified on HB 399 that would require four year universities to offer personal financial literacy training.

Texas Junior College System

Rep. Jim Pitts filed HB 2440 that would create a Texas Junior College System office. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board would appoint an executive director that would employ up to 10 full time employees in this system. The system would oversee all public junior colleges in the state, establish funding formulas to guide legislature in the appropriations process to provide state funding that matches the benefit contributions made by junior colleges.  The system would also formulate a strategic plan, establish common transfer standards between junior colleges and four-year colleges, oversee dual credit agreements, represent junior college interests before the legislature and in negotiations, and provide training to board members and executive staff.  The system would allocate the state’s formula funds and any available performance funds to junior colleges based on their performance, as well as all or part of the federal financial aid for public junior colleges.  The system would also recommend changes to junior college district service areas and taxing district boundaries as necessary. The system would coordinate with the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Education Agency and industry to make recommendations regarding curriculum alignment in postsecondary workforce education.

Next Week

Bills to be heard before the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, March 14, 2011

  • HB 4 relating to additional cuts for the CURRENT Fiscal year
  • HB 275 relating to the use of the Rainy Day Fund to prevent the cuts proposed in HB 4
Leo Zuniga
Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications