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  • Wednesday, August 17, 2016
    Blinn trustees approve legislative priorities
    Blinn trustees Tuesday approved six legislative priorities for the 85th session of the Texas Legislature, including a call for more state funding.
    The 85th Texas Legislature, which meets every two years, will convene Jan. 10 next year.
    Trustees listed Blinn’s priorities as:
    • Supporting the state funding goals as adopted by the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) and Community College Association of Texas Trustees (CCATT).
    • Supporting enhanced policies, programs and associated funding to strengthen the workforce development services and initiatives as adopted by TACC and CCATT.
    • Supporting an increase in state funding to further Blinn College’s efforts to provide an affordable higher education for all students.
    • A commitment to strengthening its business and industry partnerships and to enhancing workforce development in all of its service area.
    • Supporting additional state funding to offset the rising expenses associated with Hazlewood exemptions.
    • Supporting maintenance of the existing level of state funding for the operation of the Star of Republic Museum.
    Blinn will be among the community colleges asking lawmakers for an increase of core funding for each community college district by $250,000 per year; funding student success points at a minimum of $185 per point; and increasing state funding for community college instruction by $45 million.
    “Blinn will be one of 50 colleges, all who are working together, to branch out and touch these legislative bases for education purposes,” Blinn’s executive vice president Mel Waxler said.
    Board president David Sommer said that a survey revealed that the top issue facing Texas community colleges as defined by community college leadership was funding community colleges.
    “Funding is definitely the big issue,” Sommer said. “We are going to have a tough sell to try to get more money in the next legislative session so we are going to have to have some real hard cold facts as to why this going to happen. We have to get that message out there.”
    According to Sommer, dual credit is seen as the second most critical issue and the third was transfer articulation, such as a common numbering system and how credits count as toward a degree at a receiving institution.
    Trustees also adopted a resolution to set the tax rate for 2016 at the current tax rate used in 2015 of 6.01 cents per $100 of property value, which is estimated to yield $1,780,966 in tax revenue.
    Trustees also approved a ground lease agreement with The Texas A&M University system related to The Texas A&M University system’s RELLIS campus.

    Source: Brenham Banner-Press