HC breaks almost even on state funding

Staff Writer

After years of severe cutbacks in state funding, the Howard College district is seeing a little sunlight.
The Howard College Big Spring and San Angelo campuses will receive a little less state funding over the next two years, while the SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf (SWCID) will receive more than $1 million in allocation dollars.
In all, Howard College President Dr. Cheryl Sparks said this year's legislative session was a good one for Howard College and community colleges as a whole.
The 85th Texas State Legislative session officially wrapped up Monday, and lawmakers approved the budget for the coming two years, the one issue they are mandated to accomplish.
Now the bill sits on the desk of Governor Gregg Abbott to sign into law.
With figures in hand, Howard College announced Tuesday in a press release “Howard College (Big Spring area and San Angelo campuses) will be facing a 0.66 percent decrease resulting in $84,517 fewer dollars for the biennium or $42,259 per year.”
However, SWCID, which is funded as a special item in the Howard College district's allocation, will receive a $1,350,220 increase for the biennium or $675,110 for the year.
Sparks said this increase will now allow the district to “focus on some operational and infrastructure issues that have been looming for several years.” SWCID is heavily dependent on state funding since it does not receive local taxpayer dollars and students who are residents of Texas have their tuition comped.
“We have had several things we need to address on our SWCID campus but have been unable to over the last several years due to budget limitations,” Sparks stated. “We are excited about the show of support for this campus through the allocation of additional dollars and we will begin our work to address the issues in the most fiscally prudent way possible.”