Del Mar College could replace Coastal Bend College in Alice. Here's what to know.

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal
Coastal Bend College in Alice, Texas.

Coastal Bend College (CBC) in Alice could be saying goodbye after 30 years of service in the area if the Texas Legislature approves the move this session.

The Alice City Council approved and signed a resolution in June  to approve  having Del Mar College replace Coastal Bend College to provide better education opportunities for area students. The Jim Wells County Commissioners Court signed a similar resolution in October for the county. 

A conversation about Coastal Bend College needing to provide better education opportunities for Alice students started in December 2019, according to Alice Mayor Jolene Vanover.

Vanover said the college hasn't met expectations for several years to give students chances at "better-paying jobs  and to help the city's efforts to improve inequality and area poverty."

"Before any resolution was voted on, at the city or county level, the CBC had ample time to provide a 'plan of action' for Alice to be considered an important destination for the programs offered at their Beeville or Kingsville campuses," Vanover added.

Meanwhile, Del Mar College officials stepped up to set up Zoom meetings during the pandemic and offered options for Alice that city and county leaders approved, Vanover said.

More:Del Mar resolution, Use of Police policy and new charter discussed at Alice City Council 

Coastal Bend College President Justin Hoggard said in a lengthy statement that since learning of the possibility the county could become part of Del Mar's service area he's met with legislative representatives and is prepared to follow the progress of any bill and testify in Austin.

"I intend to continue building upon these relationships so that our Legislators can continue advocating in the best interests of students and community members in CBC’s service area with the benefit of full knowledge about the exciting opportunities on this College’s horizon," he said.

What does it mean? 

If legislators do pass a bill that would allow Del Mar College to expand its service area to Jim Wells County it would mean Coastal Bend College would be required to vacate its existing location. It would no longer be a community college option for local residents there, according to the CBC's statement.

When will a decision be made? 

The legislative session ends on May 31 and a vote on a bill to make the change is expected in the next few weeks, County Judge Juan Rodriguez said. "

How will it affect current students? 

Coastal Bend College is looking at potential scenarios should the legislation pass to help current students.

"Such planning, at this point, is speculative and indeterminate because the Legislative Session is difficult to predict even in years where a global pandemic is not stacking uncertainties in the process, " Hoggard said. "If the Legislature deems it appropriate for Jim Wells County to be served by another college district, it will be my singular focus to ensure as smooth of a transition as possible to mitigate any negative consequences for students and community members in Jim Wells County."