By Hannah Lathen
Community colleges in Texas will not be affected by a temporary statewide hiring freeze imposed on state agencies by Gov. Greg Abbott, said the Texas Association of Community Colleges.
At the State of the State address Jan. 31, Abbott said just as Texans know how to live within their means, the state should too, and the process would start with the hiring freeze.
“We must cut spending in our current biennium to ensure that we live within our budget,” he said. “So, today I am directing state agencies to impose an immediate hiring freeze through the end of August.”
The hiring freeze should free up about $200 million in the state’s current budget, Abbott said.
Jacob Fraire, president and CEO of the TACC says his group interpreted the hiring freeze would not affect community colleges because most of their funding is local, not just from the state.
“We know that our community colleges are essentially local governments. Each of our colleges has a locally elected board,” he said. “Their revenues, which accounts for how they operate their budgets, has some state funding, but a significant amount is being funded through local taxes.”
Fraire said TACC received a letter from the governor’s office, which clarified any position funded through non-state appropriation funds are fully exempted.
Fraire said they are confident that description applies to community colleges, and they have communicated their interpretation to the TACC members, including TCC.