By Joshua Browning
The most recent Board of Trustees meeting run-time of one hour and fifty minutes was comparatively short, but the Board was able to focus extensively on a number of fiscal matters that affect that college.
College lobbyist Dick Carter, reviewed upcoming votes in the state legislature that could have an effect on the college budget. Carter said there is resistance from some members of the House to renew the one-cent sales tax. The college is, in part, funded by revenue taken from the sales tax. Trustee Greg Musil took the opportunity to stress the severity of this potential law when TABOR (Taxpayers Bill of Rights) legislation arose in discussion. The bill links government growth with household income.
“If our enrollment goes up by two thousand students, we can’t spend a dime more if the legislature imposes that on us,” Musil said. “I just think it’s important that we start now explaining and educating folks.”
Musil said this legislation has been described as mini-TABOR by legislators, but he refuted that claim as misleading, saying instead that the policy would have restrictive effects on state-funded entities like the college.
Tax revenue continued to be a central theme throughout the session. During a discussion over lack of clarity in the budget packet, Trustee John Stewart took the opportunity to point out one very clear fact.
“You can see that we’re about four million dollars less tax-collected for proposed 2011-12 versus 2009-10 budget,” Stewart said.
Trustee Melody Rayl, who has just taken over as the board’s new chairperson, echoed these facts, saying this is a testament to the ingenuity of college employees.
“We’ve been asking the college to do more with less for about three years running now,” Rayl said.
A number of other items were passed with little fanfare including making a publication called The Legal Record our official publication for public notices. This decision comes as a result of the closing of The Johnson County Sun one day prior to the meeting. The Kansas City Star was also considered but decided against, as it may not meet the legal requirements since it is not published in Kansas.
There was also considerable discussion over a new policy instituting criminal background checks for staff and faculty moving to new positions within the school. Musil expressed reservations about the policy, citing that faculty with relatively minor blemishes on their record might not pursue advanced placement for fear of embarrassment. Rayl said the policy will be addressed in depth over the course of the year with careful consideration as to its procedural mechanism.
Contact Joshua Browning, reporting correspondent, at email@example.com.