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CCCCD Hosts Texas Legislators

CCCCD HOSTS TEXAS LEGISLATORS

November 22, 2004 -- Collin County Community College District (CCCCD) welcomed two state legislators during a luncheon Nov. 19 at the Spring Creek Campus Conference Center in Plano.

Texas State Representatives Brian McCall (pictured right front), representing District 66, and Jerry Madden (pictured left back), of District 67, were keynote speakers during a Texas Junior College Student Government Association (TJCSGA) luncheon. Attendees represented junior, community and technical colleges from Region II, which includes 14 schools, including CCCCD, and about 125,000 students.

McCall and Madden, who both represent parts of Plano and the surrounding area in the Texas House of Representatives, tackled pertinent issues that Texas currently faces.

With a legislative session coming up, McCall said there will be around 5,500 bills introduced ranging from transportation, healthcare, public education and higher education. McCall said Texas needs change as 20 percent of adults cannot read. In addition, despite building new prisons, facilities are at 98 percent capacity, and the population is projected to grow by 20 percent in the next 10 years.

During a question-and-answer forum, the representatives were asked about the decreasing amount of state funding to community colleges.

"We have done it in public education, too," McCall said of the decrease in state money to higher education. "We have done it in other areas." McCall said additional funding options include an increase in sales tax, a business tax and a sin tax on cigarettes and alcohol.

"We are going to generate revenue this session. That is why it is important to get your input to the legislature to get your piece of the pie," Madden said.

"Will we fund Collin County like we have before? Probably not, with our other priorities. Will we ignore Collin County? It depends on your involvement," McCall said.

TJCSGA Region II President James Nunn said the event was an opportunity for legislators, college presidents and trustees to recognize that students also care about bills affecting community colleges.

"The main purpose was for the benefit of the TJCSGA to show that we are around and show them what we've been doing and what we plan to do," Nunn said.

CCCCD President Cary Israel applauded the speakers for attending and noted that working together will only help community colleges.

"It's important that we remember, as presidents and trustees, that we are student-centered," President Israel said. "I am appreciative that you came here and that we are working together. We will be stronger working together."

Collin College serves more than 46,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.