Increasing Budgets, Empty Rooms, and Missing Representatives

As a graduate of Brazosport College and as a citizen who pays taxes to the Brazosport College Taxing District, I enjoy keeping up with some of its activities when/where possible.

In 2007, voters approved a $70,000,000 bond. This bond included a number of items but two new buildings and various remodels accounted for the bulk of this amount. One of the new buildings is mainly for science and nursing classes, the other for community and college special events. The college emphasized the urgent need for more classroom space during the bond efforts.

The problem is that these buildings (old and new) are empty most of the time–even during the day. According to Brazosport College’s master schedule Astra (select “all events” next to “choose calendar”)–which is available to the public–the vast majority of classrooms (and other rooms) are never used or are only used for two or three classes a semester.

(This is in contrast to the University of Houston, for example, where every room is booked solid from at least 10 am to 4 pm during the week.)

For some quick examples in the form of PDF documents, click here and here for a look at how many classroom spaces were not used during the Spring 2018 semester at Brazosport College, click here for a look at how many spaces are not currently being used during the first Summer 2018 session.

(Take note: There is some variation for special events, of course, not occurring of the days shown in theses examples; however, there are few special events. Additionally, five of the classrooms–the ones that start with “HS”–are rooms at the high schools and are for dual credit classes only.)

Of note is that the number of students attending Brazosport College has not, for all practical purposes, changed for over ten years. There are additional online courses compared to ten years ago (before the new buildings opened) but no where near enough to account for the number of empty rooms in 2018. 

Of additional note is that Brazosport College’s budget increased from approximately $25,500,000 in 2007 to $38,000,000 in 2013 to $50,500,000 in 2017. Budgets at institutions of higher education have been increasingly everywhere lately, but the increase at Brazosport College is about 30-40 percent more than elsewhere in the same timeframe. Tuition at Brazosport College has gone from one of the lowest in the state of Texas to one of the most expensive during the same time period for community colleges.

Of further note is that no one on the Brazosport College Board of Regents has actually been “elected” in about thirty-five years. Regents are appointed through what I consider to be legal loopholes. In particular, systematically, when a Regent is ready to “retire” from the Board, they resign several months to a year before the end of their official term; a new regent is appointed; and the newly appointed regent runs as an incumbent. And because openings are not truly advertised, for all practical purposes, there are seldom any challengers. The citizens of the Brazosport College Taxing District do not have actual representation.  

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda