Vote "No" to HB 1903

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Please vote "No" to House Bill 1903

We are strong supporters of our community’s flagship academic institution, Blinn College. Established in 1883, Blinn College prides itself in hosting more resident students than any other community college in the state. Blinn College offers nationally recognized music, theater, agriculture and athletic programs, allowing students the opportunity to explore and develop both inside and outside the classroom, and that is just the Brenham campus. The Brenham campus has also excelled in their developmental education programs helping many minority and economically disadvantaged students the opportunity to attend college and live their dream of attending college. The Bryan campus is home to numerous medical learning programs such as nursing, dental hygiene and radiology programs and has excelled across the state in providing quality, trained medical professionals not only for rural Texas but to the Texas Medical Center. Combined, they have the highest transfer rates to 4-year educational institutions and have matriculation success with Texas A&M, Prairie View A&M, Baylor, Texas State, Sam Houston and the University of Texas. At Texas A&M the research indicated the success of the Blinn College students were equally successful at graduating from Texas A&M as the students who entered Texas A&M as freshman. To say that Blinn College has been successful as a community college is an understatement and it is clear that they have reached their fiduciary responsibility to the state. Each campus has its own funding needs which vary from year to year and flexibility in spending allocations has provided the opportunity for the growth and development of the campuses and centers to best serve the 13 county service area of the college.

The citizens and taxpayers of Washington County elect a seven member Board that is responsible under Education Code 51.352(a), which states that the Board “is expected to preserve institutional independence and to defend its right to manage its own affairs through its chosen administrators and employees.” Currently, your committee has before it House Bill 1903 by Rep. John Raney which could severely impact the future of the entire Blinn College system and could establish a harming legislative precedent for all community colleges throughout Texas. HB 1903 attempts to mandate how the Board manages the Colleges District’s fiscal resources and minimizes the citizen’s voice and forces funding decisions that should be determined by the Board of Trustees. I fear that such legislation will undermine the ability of the college to manage its own affairs, threaten the colleges ability to maintain academic excellence at each of their campuses and centers across the broad 13 county service area. Furthermore, if passed all community colleges in Texas could come under similar threat and undermine the community college system as a whole.

The Texas Legislature has always been a champion of the “local control” and this proposal completely removes decision-making regarding funding, and possibly future funding. From the Board and mandates that resources will go to one campus in preference to another without the necessary input of the Board, administration, and tax paying citizens. I believe the Board has provided continual and effective leadership for the growth and expansion of Blinn College, which is clearly evidenced by its exponential growth in the past years.

As strong supporters of our academic and economic future for Washington County, we respectfully ask that you please vote not to advance HB 1903 and protect the institution of local control and decision making as established by the Texas Education Code.

We respectfully ask that you vote “No” on HB 1903 and appreciate your time and consideration.

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