Trustees approve welding certificate, CDL training program
The regular session of the Butler Community College Board of Trustees met June 9 at 4:30 p.m.
Trustees met face-to-face following social distancing protocols while visitors were invited to participate via Zoom or observe by watching the livestream on YouTube through the college’s local cable channel, BCTV Channel 20.
After being called to order, Trustees entered a 45 min. Executive Session for consultation with legal counsel with no action following.
As part of their action items, Trustees approved a new welding certificate, a new Class A and Class B CDL program, and heard several comments from the public regarding the recent announcement of the EduCare Center closing.
Under Public Comment, Trustees heard concerns from mothers whose children attended the college’s EduCare Center. It was announced the end of May that the Center would not reopen due to budget constraints at the college. Those speaking asked for the opportunity to help the college find ways to make the EduCare Center financially successful. Trustees were asked that the decision to close the EduCare be reconsidered, perhaps with a probationary period in order to allow time for other solutions to be explored. Closing the center was viewed as a disservice to the community and they asked to understand all the options explored for keeping it open. All of the mother’s applauded the teachers and the curriculum of the EduCare Center and commended its value to the community as a resource for parents and as a learning facility for children.
President Krull shared the college’s budget situation with the board. She highlighted that with enrollment struggles and the negative impact of COVID-19 on college operations, and the dire budget situation at the state level, that the college’s budget could be looking at a $3.5 million budget shortfall.
As college administrators and trustees try to plan for next year, it won’t be until August or September before they know what the state will fund for higher education. Dr. Krull said the state saw better than expected revenues from last quarter, but figures still didn’t hit the original target.
It was noted that Butler did receive $3.8 million from the government CARES ACT funding. This money is for very specific uses. It cannot be used for operations and half of the funding is to be used for direct student support. For more information on how Butler is supporting students with the Cares Act funding visit https://www.butlercc.edu/homepage/305/butler-cares-emergency-student-aid
Besides the closure of the EduCare Center, which saves more than $700,000 in salaries alone, other budget cuts were also reviewed with the Board. Furloughs of full-time salaried employees are also being explored. The administration is considering eight days furlough to be used throughout the entire 12-month budget cycle. This would equate to a 3% budget cut for the 2020-2021 budget year but would not impact base salaries over the long term.
BOARD ACTION ITEMS
Trustees heard from Ryan Murry of ICI who has been working to find a property insurance carrier for the college. The college’s current policy holder recently informed the college it would drop coverage primarily due to the hailstorm damage over recent years. Because of the nature of the insurance policy this year, the board unanimously approved to allow Kent Williams, vice president of finance, to approve the insurance policy prior to July 1 to prohibit any lapse in coverage.
The board was presented a possible policy revision on the early retirement benefit offered by the college. The revision would remove the ability of early retirees to cover family members on the college’s health insurance until age 65. Currently, retirees have the option to continue under either a single or family plan. Due to the rising costs of coverage and the rising number of eligible retirees, the college estimates saving nearly $193,000 with a single coverage only option. If approved, the policy revision would not go into effect until the 2021-2022 budget year. The policy will be back in front of the Trustees for a vote at the July board meeting.
Trustees unanimously approved a new welding certificate that can be completed in one semester so students can get to work in the industry. The certificate pulls from the strong curriculum of the welding program that already teaches shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) and oxy-fuel welding processes for both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The certificate curriculum now awaits approval from the Kansas Board of Regents and is set to begin in August.
Under the Consent Agenda, Trustees approved a new Class A and Class B CDL training program through Butler’s Business Education and Training Analysis (BETA), a custom training division of the college. The agreement was approved for the college to work with CSC, Inc. to deliver a professional and top level CDL training program for the area. BETA currently provides CDL - Class B training for Schwann’s of Kansas and Oklahoma. This agreement allows training to be expanded for additional opportunities. Anyone interested in earning CDL credentials should contact BETA at (316)218-6118, or email email@example.com.
Also approved under the Consent Agenda were May 2020 Bills and Warrants of $6,060,975.40 which included the expenditure of $2,857,279.71 and payroll of $3,203,695.69.
Dr. Kim Krull, Butler President, updated the Trustees on plans to reopen its campuses to the public in the fall. Some offices will begin opening by the end of June. Work continues for the implementation of appropriate safety protocols.
The Board Finance Committee reported that summer enrollment ended a little stronger than expected considering the impact by the pandemic. Krull also shared that the state legislature currently has $7 million in the budget for the Excel in CTE program, this funding would support career and technical training at all Kansas community colleges. If the funding passes, this would be the first year Kansas legislators have ever funded their CTE initiative at 100%. Knowing allotments are still likely to come to the Governor’s budget, the community college sector is hopeful the legislature will support the critical training needs provided by the state’s community colleges.
Dr. Phil Speary, dean of academic support services, provided an overview of the college’s academic support and effectiveness department. The department includes such operations as Adult Basic Education, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), Disability Services, Faculty Development, Honors/Phi Theta Kappa, Personal Development courses, Testing Centers and Tutoring programs.
Adult Basic Education is a program that helps adult students complete needed high school credentials so that they may transition into college. Each year, 20-30 Adult Basic Education students transition into Butler to continue their education.
Monica Dobbins, assistant professor of Nursing, was congratulated for her selection into Kaplan’s Nursing Mentorship Program. Dobbins is one of 14 from across the country to be selected. Dobbins is in her first year as a Butler nursing faculty member. As part of the program she will learn and discuss topics such as curriculum development, trends in teaching, overcoming professional challenges, advancements in test preparation and more.
Dr. Esam Mohammad , associate vice president of research, was recognized for his recent article, “Local Economic Anchors in a Post-Pandemic World,” published May 26 by the Community College Daily, the American Association of Community College’s (AACC) flagship outlet for information. You can read the article here.
The Board of Trustees meetings are available for viewing on the BCTV Channel 20’s YouTube channel.