The Seward County Community College/Area Technical School Board of Trustees met Monday to hear a variety of reports and begin to prepare for the fall 2013 school year.
Jerri Lynn Lyddon, director of the Saints Bookstore, gave an overview of book sales versus book rentals. Between 2011 and 2012, sales of textbooks declined by $6,061, including sales and refunds. During that same time rentals increased, $11,465.
Lyddon said most college stores belong to the Mid States Association of College Stores, including the Saints Bookstore, which helps colleges determine how best to turn a profit. Lyddon serves as vice president of the association. For the past several semesters, the college has added more and more books to the rental list, which has increased the profits for the bookstore.
EduKan, SCCC/ATS’s online consortium with five other Kansas community colleges, now uses embedded textbooks with its online classes, something, Lyddon says will be showing up more and more.
The board reviewed an audit of the eduKan consortium that was performed by D. McMilen Chartered of Great Bend. The audit indicates good growth in the organization. Dennis Sander, dean of finance and operations, said eduKan increased in size and value by 45 percent and maintained a healthy “net income” margin of approximately 26 percent.
However, the audit did note that if any of the six colleges were to pull out of eduKan, it could potentially be an economic hardship on the organization.
The board reviewed three programs that are still on annual administrative review. With the retirement of individuals in both the auto business and CIS programs, the administration recommended that both programs remain on administrative review for an additional year. The Agriculture program will remain on administrative review for one additional year since there is a new livestock judging team coach and the implementation of the sustainable agriculture program began this year.
The board approved a new program request for the Natural Gas Compression Technician program. The program is currently a one-year non-credit program. The program request will be submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents for their approval. Once approved, the program can offer both a certificate of completion and an associate in applied science degree, which will allow students in the program to be eligible for financial aid. The program will also be the third of three programs that will be a part of the Title V grant program. The other two programs include Corrosion Technology that begin in 2011 and Process Technology that began in 2012.
Dr. Duane Dunn, SCCC/ATS president, told the board that the college is beginning the budget process for the 2013-14 school year. In 2008, the Southwest Kansas Technical School merged with the college as required by the state of Kansas. However, since that time the overall state aid for SCCC/ATS has decreased by approximately $600,000.
Dunn stated that the college is “doing everything that is expected of us, including having the highest increase in graduation rates among any college in the state, surpassing national rates in student persistence, and high employment placement of our career students, but we keep getting a reduction in state support.” During that same time, the college has raised tuition and fees, which has brought in over $250,000 and SCCC/ATS has reduced the overall budget. Enrollment, on the other hand, has increased each year since 2008.
Dunn said 80 percent of our students are Kansas residents and nearly 70 percent of those Kansas students are from Seward County.
“We may have to reduce part-time classes, evening classes and outreach classes,” he said. “If we aren’t getting those dollars, we will have to make cuts somewhere.”
Dunn also presented a graph that shows that the state’s investment in higher education is about what it was in 1961, the lowest in over 50 years.
“It will continue to be a challenge,” Dunn said. “There are only so many places the money can come from.”
The college has worked hard recently to bring potential students to campus, through the Xtreme Challenge, Eighth Grade Career Days and Farm Ed Days. The college will host its first All Saints Day Saturday, April 6, to give incoming freshman the opportunity to begin enrolling for the fall 2013 semester.
In other action, the board agreed to retain the current fee schedule for use of campus facilities.
Upcoming events include Children’s Art Day, 10 a.m., Saturday, April 6; the spring musical “Assassins,” 7:30 p.m., April 11-13; Alumni luncheon and tour, 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 13; Car Show, 10 a.m., Saturday, April 13; Poetry Reading and Coffee House, 7 p.m., Thursday, April 18; Athletic Banquet, 6 p.m., Friday, April 19; Sunday Brunch, 11:30 a.m., Sunday, April 21; and the Spring Fiesta, 1 p.m., Sunday, April 21.
The board will meet at 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 6 in the board room.