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WC board appoints new trustees, approves tax rate and budget

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The Weatherford College Board of Trustees appointed two new board members during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Dave Cowley was appointed to place 4, left vacant since the passing of Roger Grizzard in May 2019.

“I’m doing this for a couple of reasons, for two people whose friendship I loved: Don Allen and Roger Grizzard,” Cowley said. “I’m going to try not to get emotional here, but I spoke at both of their funerals. And I felt the tap of Roger Grizzard on my shoulder just moments ago. Those are shoes that cannot be filled. There’s no way.

“All I can do is the very best that I can, with these ladies and gentlemen, to do what’s best for the students, faculty and staff and the taxpayers of this county.”

Cowley is community liaison for the Parker County Hospital District and has spent more than 30 years in broadcasting. He also spent nine years on the Weatherford ISD Board of Trustees.

Dan Carney was appointed to place 5, left vacant by the recent resignation of Elaine Carter.

Carney spoke about the history of his family attending Weatherford College dating back to the 1940s.

“In 1943, during World War II, my dad was a private in the US Army Air Corps serving his country,” he said. “At the same time, my then 19-year-old mother, was serving this college as a student council representative. All three of their sons attended Weatherford College.”

The tradition continued and his granddaughter, Ashtyn Sweatt, is now a freshman at WC and stood by Carney’s side as he took the oath of office given by Judge Graham Quisenberry.

news photoCarney, a WC alumnus himself, has practiced law for more than 40 years and is a partner with Vick Carney in Weatherford. He is past president of the Parker County Bar Association and is a fellow with the Texas Bar Association.

The board also approved the 2020-21 budget and tax rate. The budget totals $63.49 million, an increase of $144,917 over the amended 2019-20 budget. The previous amended budget included $2.56 million in CARES Act funding which was distributed throughout the spring and summer semester to students in need and to increase technology infrastructure to support more online courses.

The 2020 tax rate was approved at 12.535816 cents per $100 valuation. The rate reflects an increase of 7.99 percent above the no-new-revenue tax rate and is about a penny higher than the 2019-20 rate of 11.495. The rate will amount to an increase of $41.48 per year for the average taxable homestead in Parker County.

Six community members spoke in open forum against the tax increase.

Before voting to adopt the tax rate, board secretary/treasurer Lela Morris expressed her reasons for supporting the increase. Morris came to work at WC in 1983 when, she said, there were approximately 1,600 students and 100 full-time employees. Now there are nearly 6,000 students and 300 full-time employees.

At the same time, WC maintains the 10th lowest community college tax rate in the state and is 37th out of 50 for faculty salaries.

“When I retired in 2016 I decided to run for a place on this board and one of my priorities was to get the faculty and staff salaries to the state average,” Morris said. “The tax rate was 12.89 cents 20 years ago, higher than what we’re proposing today… Only nine other colleges have a tax rate lower than us, while we are one of the few community colleges experiencing continual growth. Weatherford College is your community college and we value and appreciate your support.”

- 2020 Tax Ordinance