|(a) The Texas Education Code, §130.013 and §130.036, requires the Board to consider the needs and the welfare of the state as a whole, the geographic location of existing colleges, as well as the welfare of the community involved, before authorizing an election to create a new community/junior college district. The Board shall determine whether programs in a proposed community/junior college district will create unnecessary duplication or seriously harm programs in existing community/junior college districts. (b) The Board shall apply the following criteria when considering the creation of a new community/junior college district: (1) Demographic and economic characteristics of the proposed district, such as: (A) population trends by age group; (B) economic development trends and projections; and (C) employment trends and projections (supply-demand data). (2) Potential student clientele, including: (A) educational levels by age group; and (B) college-bound data (i.e., trends by age group). (3) The financial status of the proposed district and the state as a whole, including: (A) any projected growth or decline in the tax base; and (B) trends in state appropriations for community/junior colleges and other institutions of higher education. (4) Projected programs and services based on economic and population trends. (5) Proximity and impediments to programs and services of existing institutions of higher education, such as: (A) identification of institutions of higher education, including branch campuses, extension centers, or extension facilities, that could be affected by a new community/junior college; (B) pursuant to Texas Education Code, §130.086(f), provision for discontinuation of a branch campus, extension center, or extension facility by an existing community/junior college district to include fair compensation for the community/junior college district that discontinues the branch campus, extension center, or extension facility; (C) documentation of existing programs and services: (i) on the campuses of nearby institutions of higher education; (ii) available to citizens within a 50-mile radius of the proposed district; and (iii) offered in the proposed district by existing institutions of higher education; (D) financial limitations on existing institutions of higher education inhibiting the offering of programs and services in the proposed district; (E) availability of facilities, libraries, and equipment for institutions to offer classes in the proposed district; (F) distance and traffic patterns to existing institutions of higher education; (G) effect on enrollment of existing institutions of higher education; and (H) effect on financing of existing institutions of higher education. (6) Alternative approaches to meeting the need for educational services in the proposed community/junior college district include, but are not limited to: (A) out-of-district classes offered in the district by existing institutions of higher education; (B) transportation of students to nearby institutions of higher education; and (C) contract programs and services from combinations of institutions of higher education. (c) The Board's Committee on Community and Technical Colleges may conduct one or more public hearings in the proposed district to: (1) assess public sentiment regarding creation of the district; (2) determine whether programs in the proposed district would create unnecessary duplication or seriously harm programs in existing community/junior college districts or other institutions of higher education in the area; and (3) assess the potential impact of the proposed district on existing community/junior colleges or other institutions of higher education in the area and on the State of Texas. (d) After the feasibility study and other documentation and information have been reviewed by the Committee on Community and Technical Colleges and Board staff, a report from the Board staff shall be submitted to the Commissioner indicating whether the criteria as set out in §8.32 of this title (relating to Standards and Board Procedure for Approval) have been met. The report shall also include a recommendation for approval or denial of the request for approval to hold an election to create a public community/junior college district, but shall not be binding on the Commissioner or the Board.