Governmental Affairs > Legislative Update > Feb. 17, 2017 (Volume 6, Issue 6)

Feb. 17, 2017 (Volume 6, Issue 6)

DCCCD Legislative Update
Feb. 17, 2017Volume 6 Issue 6

DCCCD Students Cross the Potomac

The week started off with purpose as four DCCCD students landed at our nation’s capitol on Monday to participate in the Association of Community College Trustees’ National Legislative Summit. Susana Rodriguez (Mountain View), Chelsea Garcia (El Centro), Ka’Von Lee (Cedar Valley) and Javier Perez (Brookhaven) represented their respective colleges and the Dallas County Community College District during the summit, where they learned more about the important role of community colleges; engaged trustees from across Texas and the nation; participated in a legislative priority session; and met with members of Congress. 

(Pictured left to right) Javier Perez, Ka’Von Lee, Susana Rodriguez and Chelsea Garcia arrive to participate in ACCT’s National Legislative Summit.

At the capitol visitors’ center, our students participated in a meeting with Sen. John Cornyn and community college advocates, including trustees, college presidents and other students. All four students shared their stories and explained why they chose to attend DCCCD. Rodriguez had the opportunity to share her experience directly with Sen. Cornyn. 

Mountain View College student Susana Rodriguez talks to Sen. John Cornyn about how her life has been transformed because she attends DCCCD.

Students from DCCCD and other Texas community colleges meet with Sen. John Cornyn.

DCCCD students also met with U.S. Reps. Marc Veasey and Pete Sessions. They discussed why they chose to attend DCCCD and asked the congressmen to support year-round Pell Grants, career and technical education, and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

DCCCD students and Chancellor Joe May meet with Congressman Marc Veasey.

Congressman Pete Sessions talks with DCCCD students.

During the final morning session on Thursday, students and conference participants heard from the recently-confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Sec. DeVos discussed how community colleges prepare individuals to enter the workforce and also the success of early college high schools. 

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

Meanwhile….Back at the Ranch (in Texas)

This week, the House Appropriations Committee held its first meeting on Monday. Members have announced the creation of a subcommittee to address Article III, which will prompt deeper discussions related to funding for community colleges. The subcommittee, which will meet on Monday, February 20, includes two Dallas-area representatives, state Reps. Helen Giddings, vice chair, and Linda Koop. 

Important Issues 

Listed below are bills of importance to DCCCD. We will track these and other bills that may have an impact on our district during the legislative session. You can view those House and Senate bills by visiting our site

  • Funding for community colleges
    • We are seeking $1.834 billion in general revenue for core operations, student success and instruction for community colleges.
    • Our community colleges have grown 62 percent since 2000.
  • Early childhood education: Sen. West, SB 534; Rep. Giddings, HB 971
    • The Dallas County job market is experiencing a shortage of more than 4,000 early childhood educators.
    • The bill will offer the choice of a quality, affordable bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
    • It supports the governor’s mission of a quality pre-kindergarten.
    • This goal can be achieved without adding a fiscal cost for the state.
  • Workforce development: “Recruit Texas” Rep. Alvarado, HB 108
    • We want to ensure that Texas remains competitive and is the #1 place for economic development and workforce training.
    • “Recruit Texas” redirects current funds within the Texas Workforce Commission.
    • The program can include assessment, employee recruitment, safety training and leadership development.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
    • For every $1 invested in TX SBDC, $5.85 in tax revenue is generated.
    • Statewide there are four SBDC lead offices, one is housed at the Dallas County Community College District.
    • SBDC conducts research, counsels and trains business people in managing, financing and operating small businesses.
    • SBDC plays a pivotal role in driving the Texas economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the state. We believe in keeping the Texas economy strong by funding SBDC. 

As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions. 

Finis 

This week, we went four-for-four: four of our students spent four days in Washington, D.C. They took time to learn about the issues and the importance of advocating on behalf of community colleges. They shared their stories, their challenges and their dreams. We heard compliments from elected officials, administrators and trustees. Our optimistic students represented four different colleges, but they were the voice of one system in D.C. – the Dallas County Community College District. In D.C., we fielded one team, and we were one network. Thank you, Chelsea, Ka’Von, Javier and Susana, for showing us how we can all work together to improve our colleges and to help our students, faculty, staff and community. 

After a long week, our students were ready to return home.