The Dallas County Community College District Web site is thick this week with missives from Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jerry Prater and Chancellor Wright Lassiter Jr., who remain furious with Governor Rick Perry for vetoing last Friday $153,979,799 in funding approved by the state Legislature. That money was to go toward community college employee group health insurance for the 2008-'09 fiscal year, and it's estimated that DCCCD will eat $15.7 million of that bite out of the budget.
Already, community colleges across the state are trying to figure how to make up the budget shortfall -- by raising tuition, most likely, to compensate for the actions of a governor who, in essence, said the community colleges were greedy liars just before he took away their $150-plus million.
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On Wednesday, Prater and Lassiter posted to the site a note in which they wrote, "In addition to being disappointed with the action, we emphatically disagree with the assertion that we 'falsified' our appropriations request... We are especially dismayed because in your budget proposal earlier this year, you included a full group health insurance appropriation to community colleges. We went through all of the hearings of the 80th Legislative Session, and there was no indication from you that this was a matter of concern. Your veto and the companion language misrepresent our actions. Both are painful and unnecessary." That was followed by yesterday this detailed explanation from Lassiter, along with a list of people to call -- including, of course, the governor. --Robert Wilonsky