In a previous article that I wrote, I spoke about the different sources of revenue that help support Lee College’s budget. They include students paying tuition and fees, funds received from the State of Texas, and funds from homeowners, businesses and industry through tax collections on their property. This is similar for all 50 Texas public community colleges. At the Lee College Board of Regents meeting held on Thursday, August 29, 2019, something wonderful took place for our tax payers.
During the previous eight years, the Board of Regents has reduced the tax rate twice. However, the Board’s recent vote will reduce the tax rate by a full two cents. This significant action was done in recognition of the years of support taxpayers have provided to Lee College. All of us at the College, students, staff and the Board of Regents, are appreciative of the financial support that our taxpaying citizens provide. As the Baytown and Highlands communities grow, which make-up the Lee College taxing district, the College is able to lower its tax rate without sacrificing the level or quality of services provided to students or the communities that we serve. The College’s faculty and staff do amazing work, and are focused on providing support to students with the funds included in each year’s budget.
In addition to the tax rate reduction, I am also pleased to report that the Fiscal Year 2020 budget approved but the Board of Regents includes a three percent salary increase for all full-time and part-time faculty and staff. Lee College continues to have competitive faculty and staff salaries, which allow us to attract quality talent to the Lee College workforce.
The College’s finances are sound. At the end of August 2019, the College had a cash position of approximately $14 million. At an upcoming meeting, the Board will consider revising its cash reserve policy to require six months of operating expenses. The cash reserve is required should a need arise, such as a storm or other event that would reduce the availability of anticipated revenues. The College is on track to reach this six-month goal, approximately $25 million, in the next three years.
Everyone at Lee College knows that students and taxpayers have entrusted their hard-earned dollars to us, whether it be through tuition, fees or taxes. As such, we are very careful to ensure that every dollar we receive benefits our students and the community. Your money is put to good use, and the College has several processes in place to ensure that each dollar spent is accounted for, and that it serves to improve student success, the college experience, and our communities.
On this Labor Day Weekend, it is a great opportunity to reflect on the important role that our employees play in ensuring that students succeed. On behalf of the Board of Regents and myself, I want to extend a special “thank you” to all of the Lee College employees for their commitment to Lee College, and for the first-class services that they provide to our students and the communities we serve.
Dr. Dennis Brown is president of Lee College.