The Board of Regents voted 6-1 to increase tuition and to raise the tax rate at their regularly scheduled board meeting Monday evening.

The step was taken because Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a portion of the community college appropriations bill. He exercised the veto two weeks after the legislature adjourned.

The legislature had approved $153,979,799 to cover group health insurance benefits of certain employees. Perry’s veto will take effect Sept. 1, 2009. North Central Texas College portion of funds vetoed was $1.4 million.

According to the Texas Community College Teachers Association and its members, Perry also accused the staff of all of the Texas community colleges of fraud —specifically falsifying their budget requests.

College President Eddie Hadlock, in a letter to the governor, said, “The financial impact of the cut will be nothing short of devastating.”

Hadlock said in the letter, “Even raising local taxes to the maximum subject-to-rollback 8 percent would yield about $150,000 and we would also have to raise tuition by about $9 per semester hour.”

The board would also have to add an agenda item to a future meeting to amend the tuition charges.

Ken Coolen, who was linked to the board telephonically, noted the governor commented that community colleges had at least two sources of revenue they could tap to make up any shortfall — their tax base and tuition. He said the community college boards didn’t really have any options.

The board voted to delay certain capital improvements, cut some expenditures, raise tuition about 3 percent and increase the ad valorum tax rate to somewhere around $0.07999 per hundred dollar valuation.

The sole dissenter in the vote was Regent Steve Gaylord who said more that $50 of each $83 paid in taxes were used to subsidize out-of-county students. He said Cooke County students increase (both tax and tuition) amounted to 53.4 percent while students outside of this county paid 46.6 percent of the increase. Gaylord said, “Raising tuition $4 an hour vs. $2 an hour for out-of-county students could have raised about the same amount which is about the average of what we raised tuition each of the last three years for out-of-county students.

The board voted 6-1 to call a special meeting on July 30 at 6 p.m. to set the tax rate and then set a public hearing on Aug. 2 to take public input without dialogue and adopt a tax rate on Aug. 20.

The regents voted 6-1 to approve 10 new positions for the 2007-08 fiscal year. Gaylord said he felt there should be some cuts there also. Hadlock replied there were more than 20 requests for new positions and he had narrowed those down to 10.

Some contention arose when Hadlock asked for a resolution addressing the governor’s veto. While six of the Regents agreed to sign the resolution as presented, Gaylord said he took umbrage at the use of “devastatingly negative fiscal impact,” claiming he didn’t feel the impact was devastating. Regent Troy Idom remarked there were 6 board members that felt it would eventually reach devastating proportions. Gaylord reiterated he could not and would not sign the resolution as written. Idom said, heatedly, Gaylord was blackmailing the board to get his way and asked him to reconsider. Gaylord refused. Idom said he wouldn’t sign it then if the wording was changed — he felt the impact was potentially devastating. Chairman Bill Ledbetter said the resolution had to be unanimous to mean anything and asked Idom if he would reconsider. Idom did reconsider and the resolution was amended.

The college replaced several instructors. The replacements included: Jerry Barrow, drafting coordinator; Katrinka Bartush, biology instructor; Soumitra Godbole, physics instructor; Michael Jacob, SBDC counselor; Kristen Klement, English; Deidre Longenecker, nursing faculty; Deborah Teuteberg, nursing faculty; Brenda Ware, WINDOWS grant nursing faculty. Cynthia Nalley and Molly Showalter resigned from the LVN nursing staff.

The minutes of June 11 workshop was approved and the minutes of the regularly scheduled meeting were approved as amended.

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