Officials back local college bill

February 23, 2013

Leaders with the city, county, school district and other entities have approved resolutions in support of House Bill 407, which would fold Hood County into the junior college service area of Weatherford College.

Passage of the bill would release Weatherford College from cumbersome requirements related to its course offerings here and would free up the college to build upon the investment it has made in Hood County, local officials said.

The move would not, however, mean that Hood County would be in Weatherford College’s taxing district, according to Granbury City Attorney Stuart Neal.

“The service area is different from the taxing district,” Neal said.

The Granbury School Board recently approved a resolution in support of HB 407. The Granbury City Council did so on Tuesday. The Hood County Commissioners Court already has voted its support.

The bill, which is only one paragraph, was authored by state Rep. Phil King of Weatherford. It calls for the Weatherford College District Service Area to be amended to include Hood County along with the other counties in Weatherford College’s service area. The other counties are Parker, Wise, Jack and Palo Pinto.

Like Neal, Precinct 2 Commissioner Dick Roan gave assurances that no tax increases will be implemented to support Weatherford College’s presence in Hood County unless voters agree to do so – and that is likely a good way down the road.

Placing Hood County in Weatherford College’s service area means that college officials won’t have to continue going through the “expensive, time-consuming process” of getting approval from the state Board of Education for course credit offered through the Granbury campus, Roan said.

Since its opening in fall 2011, the Granbury campus, located on North Jones Street by the GISD admin offices and Decker Gym, has continued to grow in enrollment. A variety of courses are offered there, including courses for workforce training.

County, city, school and chamber officials have praised Weatherford College for investing in Hood County and have expressed pleasure in the education and cost-saving opportunities it has presented. The college, they said, saves parents and students thousands in tuition, and is a factor in local economic development.

Chamber leader Mike Scott spoke briefly about the college and HB 407 to about 30 people who rode a chartered bus to Austin on Wednesday as part of “Hood County Day.” About 20 others, including local officials and Weatherford College representatives, also traveled to Austin for “Hood County Day,” but didn’t go on the bus.

Scott said that Weatherford College has a partnership agreement with Hill College regarding course offerings in Hood County. He praised Weatherford College President Kevin Eaton for going “out on a limb” to embrace the needs of Parker County’s neighbor.

“It is a great thing for Hood County,” Scott said.

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