SCCC Board Receives Clean Financial Audit, Prepares for Cybersecurity Audit
Joe Denoyer - March 16, 2023 11:44 am
The Seward County Community College Board of Trustees met Monday, March 6, for its regular meeting, handling a light agenda due to several tabled items that required further research. Following short presentations from the athletic director and chief development officer, review of the personnel report, and board comments, trustees reviewed the 2022 financial report.
The board met via Zoom with representatives from the financial firm Adams Brown, CPA, which provided the independent annual audit of the College for fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. The audit is conducted in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAS), the Kansas Municipal Audit and Accounting Guide, and the standards applicable to financial audits contained in Government Auditing Standards, issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.
Jami Benyshek and Danielle Hollingshead presented the audit via Zoom and offered positive feedback about changes implemented by SCCC Vice President of Financial Affairs Madalen Day. The CPAs praised Day’s corrective action plan for late reports on COVID-related funding, noting that “we did not run into any difficulties or disagreements with management.” The board voted unanimously to accept the report as submitted.
College evaluates role in EduKan consortium
President Brad Bennett presented an overview of the college’s participation in the online consortium EduKan, which began as a joint venture by six community colleges in 1998. A forward-thinking experiment in what was then new technology, EduKan has now become disproportionately costly for SCCC as half the original partners left the consortium. At the same time, the Learning Management System (LMS) used to operate the online courses charges the same high fees that were common when the technology was brand new; setting up the same services with newer technology is now much less expensive.
“As you know, I have spent a tremendous amount of time meeting with EduKan in the last year,” Bennett said. “It’s changed over the years, and we are now the largest credit hour producer, while shouldering more of the expenses. I’m asking the board for permission to negotiate what is in the best interests of the college.”
Doing so should not interfere with collegial relationships between the college and its peer institutions, Bennett said.
“We want to take care of each other,” he said.
The board discussed the issue at length before coming to consensus that Bennett should proceed.
Trustee Dustin Ormiston expressed concern that SCCC retain the intellectual property in the form of course materials and syllabi for the 125 classes currently offered by EduKan.
“We have to offer every one of those classes to our students in some form,” Bennett agreed. “We’re working with outside consultant Julie Rickey to expedite course development at Seward so that, if the EduKan picture changes, we’ll be ready.”
Hearing no objections from his fellow trustees, Oliver gave Bennett permission to continue negotiating for the college to exit EduKan.
Three local vendors to split contract for dorm flooring
Following a recent walk-through in the Student Living Center facilities, administration found several issues with the flooring.
“We feel it is necessary to replace the flooring to better attract students to the dorms,” said VP Day in her presentation. “We asked local vendors to quote vinyl flooring for the rooms and hallways. This will save maintenance time in the summer to focus on other projects because facilities employees do not have to resurface the tile flooring.”
Using Microban flooring qualifies the project for COVID-19 funds usage. To get the job done as quickly as possible, the college proposed a three-way split with Brown’s Furniture, Scantlin’s Furniture, and Flooring America and Furniture Outlet
“Their quotes were close in price,” Day said. “We will have them divide up the work evenly, which will also help us finish it quickly.”
The board approved the bid as presented, not to exceed $335,000.
Financial nature of college warrants cybersecurity audit
CIO Lemert brought the board a request for approval to hire the cybersecurity auditing service Conetrix. The company specializes in banking and higher-ed technology audits, and has an 18-month waiting list, Lemert said, “although, if we sign with them now, they will fill us in earlier if there are cancellations. These types of auditors are few and far between.”
Lemert explained the audit is necessary due to the Department Education publication titled “Enforcement of Cybersecurity Requirements under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act” with a posted date of February 28, 2020. In it, the DOE categorizes higher education institutions as financial entities according to the GLBA. Because of this, colleges must agree to protect student information with the same level of care expected of banks.
“My interpretation of this is that we, as a financial institution, will be held to a similar standard as what First National Bank was held to when I last worked there. Therefore, I ask the board to approve the quote from Conetrix and waive the bid process due to my familiarity with the company and their acceptance of their audits by previous OCC auditors without objection or modification,” Lemert stated in his report.
Noting that the government levels $100,000 fines per violation, Trustee Dustin Ormiston compared the $39,111 contract with Conetrix to a type of insurance. The board voted unanimously to accept Lemert’s advice and hire Conetrix.
Other business and reports that came to the board included:
Introduction of the March “Student Spotlight” Saint, corrosion student Marcos Gonzalez.
Details about the new soccer and eSports programs from Athletic Director Dan Artamenko. Men’s soccer announced its first signee, Liberal High School standout Emmanuel Ortuño. “We had a great meeting with the City of Liberal and USD 480 on finalizing facility usage,” Artamenko noted. Esports is moving forward, with coach Eric Volden starting duties March 1, and bids for furniture and hardware nearing completion.
Chief Development Officer Kyle Woodrow reported that the Sharp Family Champions Center continues to take shape with interior finishing underway. The Annual Giving and Alumni Engagement’s Day of Giving will take place April 20. The date is set for the SCCC Foundation’s Annual Meeting: 11:30 a.m. March 29.
The board approved review and updates for several board policies relating to business functions of the college. These primarily consisted of formatting and typographical changes, and adjustment of the title of VP of Academic Affairs Day throughout the documents.
Trustee Kay Burtzloff thanked the SCCC students and staff, including fellow trustee Keeley Moree, who participated in clean-up at the Sage Mobile Home park following the tornado damage incurred Feb. 26. “They made a tremendous difference, and people were really grateful,” she said.
Trustee Casey Mein asked for an update about the college’s official website, sccc.edu, since being contacted by several community members about broken links. Chief Information Officer Louie Lemert explained that while the website is migrating from one hosting platform to a new one, several uncontrollable delays will occur. Lemert expects those glitches to be resolved in the coming weeks.
Chair Oliver praised Bennett for his advocacy on behalf of the college at recent meetings in Topeka. At the Kansas Board of Regents supper, Oliver said, “they seem more receptive to us than in the past, even though it was also ‘pick on Brad’ night.”
The board set a new date for the July meeting due to the July 4 holiday; the trustees will meet July 10. In September, due to the Labor Day holiday, the meeting will move to Sept. 11. Board members also agreed to hold their annual retreat and planning session at 6 p.m. April 30.