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Butler Trustees approve 2020-2021 tuition, fees, relocation of IT Division

An entrance to Butler Community College in El Dorado
Published: Monday, April 13th, 2020

During the March Board of Trustees meeting, 27 area high school articulation agreements were also approved.

The regular session of the Butler Community College Board of Trustees met March 10 at 4:30 p.m. in the Dankert Board Room of the Hubbard Welcome Center on the El Dorado campus.  

Public Comments

Trustees heard from supporters of Butler’s Auto Collision Repair program who voiced concerns about the college possibly closing the program. The College is considering closing the program due to continued low enrollments.  

Trustee Shelby Smith read a letter to the Board of Trustees from Eric Grooms of National Community Bank of Augusta, and Trustee Julie Winslow addressed the board to get her information requests noted on public record.  

ACTION ITEMS

Action items for the board included the approval of 2020-2021 tuition and fee rates. For the next academic year Butler County tuition/fees will be $106.00 per credit hour ($2 increase); Other In-state $123.50 ($2.50 increase); Out-of-state $182.50 ($2.50 increase); International $227.50 ($2.50 increase) and online fees were held at $53 per credit hour ($0 increase). These changes increase the differential savings for Butler County students to $17.50 per credit hour compared to what out-of-county students pay.

Kent Williams, vice president of finance, explained that, based on Butler’s history, the projection model shows that for every $1 of tuition raised, the college loses 0.4% in enrollment.

Trustee Smith inquired about student union fees and possibly raising those. Williams said this will be an area that the board will need to look at over the next year as the Bookstore’s revenues, which are used to pay long-term debt, are slipping due to lower enrollments and the use of free textbooks. Lechtenberg added that the board must look hard at the numbers and has done so to find that fine line between the appropriate level of tuition and fee increases vs. how the increase impacts student enrollment. Tuition and fees were approved with Winslow and Smith opposing.  

Trustees approved, after much discussion, a project that will relocate the college’s IT department into the 100 building while also creating a hardened server room for data protection. Funds for the project, estimated at more than $900,000, will come from the Digital Transformation fund and not the college’s operational budget. The hardened data center is part of the college’s Digital Transformation strategic plan. With the IT Department and the server room being moved to the 100 building, faculty and staff in the 100 building will, in turn, be relocated to the 200 building. Overall, the relocation better utilizes the floor plans of both buildings. The 100 building is built more for personalized offices with narrow hallways and the 200 building is better suited for a teaching and learning environment. The project is also identified in the college’s facilities master plan. The motion passed with Winslow and Smith opposing.  

The board unanimously approved the Notice Up Letter for 2020-2021 Mutual Gains Bargaining which outlines the issues to be negotiated by fulltime faculty and academic advisors under contract.  

The Trustees also approved a new project for the Foundation. During the last Kansas Board of Regents site visit, it was noted that the plaza area in front of the 500 building/gym, Hubbard Center/Nixon Library (600 building) and 900 Administration building needs stronger ADA accessibility. To address these issues, the Foundation has organized a $235,000 fundraising project to address the ADA concerns as well as refurbish the area as an outdoor pedestrian mall with shrubbery and seating areas. Gravity::Works of El Dorado is the architect. The project, to be completely funded by donations, is scheduled to be complete by the start of classes in August. The Board unanimously approved project.  

After much discussion, Trustees agreed to ratify an associate of applied science degree in Construction Technology for submission to the Kansas Board of Regents. Winslow and Smith made it clear they were not approving the program due to more questions they have about it paying for itself. The board will discuss further at the April board meeting. Lori Winningham, vice president of academics, and Mel Whiteside, dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math division, are seeking approval for the program’s launch in August 2020. Area businesses in construction have requested Butler begin the program based on economic trends and needs in the industry.

CONSENT AGENDA

Items approved under the Consent Agenda included 27 high school and state-wide articulation agreements. The agreements focus on academic and technical coursework within various career pathways at each of the high schools. They also allow evaluated high school credit to be accepted at Butler as college credit making a seamless transition for the student. Articulations were approved with: Andale, Andover, Bluestem, Campus/Haysville, Centre, Chase County, Circle, Conway Springs, Council Grove, Derby, Dodge City, Douglass, El Dorado, Emporia,  Eureka, Flinthills, Frederic-Remington, Goddard, Halstead, Hillsboro, Maize, Marion, Newton, Peabody-Burns, Rose Hills, Valley Center, and Wichita USD 259.  

In addition, Trustees approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Wichita Urology Clinic to serve as a clinical site for Butler’s Nursing program; and Bills and Warrants for February 2020 of $5,290,007.04, expenditures of $2,704,259.28, payroll of $2,585,747.76. and the contract renewal of CANVAS, the Learning Management System used by the college, for $117,805.00.

STANDING REPORTS

Standing reports were provided by the Student Government Association Report, Operational Staff Report, and Professional Employees (Faculty) Report, and Board Finance Committee Report. Under the Foundation Board report Trustee Forrest Rhodes shared the Foundation Board approved a 5% return to the college’s operational fund for yearend and approved a 6% scholarship disbursement totaling nearly $700,000 in scholarships to be awarded for the 2020-21 academic year. Also highlighted was the Foundation’s annual scholarship auction success which raised nearly $248,000 in early March.

MONITORING REPORTS AND STRATEGIC DISCUSSION

Trustees heard a report by the Health, Education and Public Services academic area and an overview from the Educational Technology (Ed Tech) department. Ed Tech is responsible for supporting access to and delivery of online curriculum design for faculty. Facilities presented on issues with the HVAC system in the 300 (ART) building. The project is addressing humidity issues in the building and will replace the 50+ year old HVAC system in the building. They are letting bids which should be ready for approval at the April board meeting.

RECOGNITIONS

The college’s marketing and business degree programs received renewal of their accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The programs were found to be in good standing and did not receive any recommendations for improvements. Dr. Krull congratulated the program leads and stated this level of report is quite extraordinary. Programs leads are Jared McGinley, marketing instructor, and Connie Belden, business administration/accounting instructor.  

Business instructors Janice Akao and Connie Belden, and Michelle Ruder of Butler’s Business Education Training Analysis (BETA), and Mel Whiteside, dean of STEM, were recognized as presenters at the Kansas Career and Technical Education Conference in February. Akao and Belden presented on using technology in the classroom, and Ruder and Whiteside presented on the benefit of valuable relationships within program advisory committees.

Lindsey Fields, biology professor, was selected to serve as Key Spouse representative for the Communications Flight 184 Wing at McConnell Airforce Base. She was selected to attend the inaugural Key Spouse Training and Development conference in Orland, Fla. The program offers resources, communications and support to spouses of deployed military personnel.  

The meeting adjourned with a budget work session following. Trustees will hold their April 14 Board Meeting virtually. The Butler Community College Board of Trustee meetings are livestreamed over BCTV Channel 20 which is now available in Andover, Augusta, El Dorado and Towanda. The meetings are later uploaded to BCTV Channel 20’s Youtube Channel, search BCTV 20.