Perry: Community Colleges Out Millions Due to False Reports

By: Pachatta Pope Email
By: Pachatta Pope Email

More than $150 million dollars in appropriations will be missing from the budgets of community colleges across Texas.

Governor Rick Perry is alleging college officials are to blame because they lied on legislative appropriations request forms dealing with who was eligible for state health insurance benefits.

Blinn College's President Don Voelter said they did no such thing and the governor must have been fed wrong information.

"I believe that somebody falsified the information that he was given," Voelter said.

As a result, close to $3 million dollars that would have been used to pay for Blinn employees' health insurance premiums will not be available for the college's second appropriations year.

The governor's veto comes months after college officials devised a plan to deal with the roll back election that repealed Washington County's property tax rate. The rate was increased by Blinn's Board of Trustees to generate more revenue.

"We had developed, I thought a very good budget," Voelter said. "We had some money available to give some salary increases."

Now, those increases and the creation of two new programs could be up in the air. This latest financial setback has Blinn College officials considering the unpopular option of rising tuition and fees.

"We have ruled out a tuition increase for the fall but we've not ruled out tuition increase for the spring semester," Voelter said.

Financial hits to the college's budget, like the governor's veto, has Voelter concerned that higher education could be put out of reach for some.

"If you keep increasing the cost that's going to decrease the access and then the opportunity that our students get," Voelter said.


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