State to Howard College: Cut 5 percent

State to Howard College: Cut 5 percent

Staff Writer

Some belt-tightening may be in Howard College’s future.

Howard, along with Texas’ other community colleges, universities and
selected other agencies, is being asked by state officials to look for ways
to trim 5 percent of its expenses to help the state weather the economic

The college received a letter, co-signed by Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David
Dewhurst and Speaker of the House Joe Straus, that definitely caught
everyone’s attention.

“We’ve been on notice since (autumn) that this could be possible … They
have suggested that each agency institute a plan including a 5 percent
reduction in costs for the biennium by Feb. 15,” HC President Dr. Cheryl
Sparks said. “They want us to find ‘prudent, efficient reductions that
minimize the impact on direct services.’”

In Howard’s case, that means finding 5 percent to cut without adversely
affecting student instruction.

No specific guidelines accompanied the correspondence, leaving Sparks and
others unsure as to what steps need to be taken.

“At this point, we’re awaiting information from the Texas Association of
Community Colleges … that is expected to give us some direction on this
matter,” Sparks said. “Right now, though, we really don’t have that much

Losing 5 percent of the state’s appropriation would result in an economic
hit of around $600,000 to Howard College and SouthWest Collegiate Institute
for the Deaf, she estimated.

Then again, any cut in revenue will hurt, Sparks added.

“We budget very conservatively and don’t have a lot of waste … so there
will be an impact,” she said. “But building budgets is about making choices
and if it comes to that, we certainly will choose accordingly.”

Sparks and the rest of the 50 Texas community college presidents will meet
with TACC officials Wednesday in Austin.

“We’re hopeful that at that time we will receive some more direction in this
matter,” she said.

Contact Staff Writer Steve Reagan at 263-7331 ext. 234 or by e-mail at
[email protected]


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