January 25, 2005
Out-district tuition issue being watched closely in Legislature, McAtee says
For years, money from out-district tuition has been used by Kansas’ 19 community colleges as a funding source.
Eliminating out-district tuition is an issue in the Kansas Legislature, and one that community colleges are watching closely, Dr. Pat McAtee, Cowley College president, told members of the Board of Trustees at their regular monthly meeting Monday night.
Out-district tuition is money that Kansas counties without community colleges are required, by state statute, to pay for in-county residents who attend community colleges in another county.
McAtee told the Board that the Kansas Board of Regents also is looking at the issue with interest. Board member Albert Bacastow Jr. was absent.
At stake is an estimated $6 million that community colleges would not receive if out-district tuition was eliminated.
“The Legislature has appropriated $6 million for community colleges this year,” McAtee said. “That will be the buy-down of out-district tuition if it’s eliminated. That’s what we’re (community colleges) are getting set up for.”
McAtee said that basically the trade-off would leave community colleges with no new money.
In 1999, the Kansas Legislature passed the 1999 Higher Education Coordination Act (Senate Bill 345), now codified in K.S.A. 71-301a. This Act, among other things, provided for a four-year phase out of out-district tuition by reducing the $24 per credit hour rate by 25 percent annually. Only the first two phase-out periods occurred, and the rate has been locked in at $12 per credit hour for the past few years because the Legislature has enacted legislation delaying the phase out period for another year.
McAtee said the Board of Regents is looking for ways to fund technical education. He said Sheila Frahm, executive director of the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees, was keeping a close eye on the controversial issue.
In other matters, the Board:
- Saw McAtee present gifts to Whitney Jones of Arkansas City and Travis Kliewer of Fairview, Okla., for being named December 2004 and January 2005 Students of the Month.
- Heard a construction report from Vice President of Business Services Tony Crouch. Crouch said the Webb-Brown Academic Center, on the southeast corner of Third Street and Washington Avenue, was coming along nicely. “The classrooms are really going to be nice,” Crouch said. The new classroom building is on schedule despite the loss of three days to inclement weather within the last month. Also, Crouch said the Bloomenshine building in Mulvane also was progressing. The college is relocating its general education classes to Bloomenshine, an old elementary school, in time for the fall 2005 semester. “Both projects are looking really good,” Crouch said.
- Approved the audit contract proposal for 2005-2006 from Parman, Tanner, Soule and Jackson of Arkansas City. The college will pay the firm $15,100 to audit the accounts and records of the college, and $7,980 to conduct the compliance audit.
- Viewed a spring enrollment report which indicates that as of Jan. 19, full-time equivalency was 3,076, which was the same figure for Jan. 19, 2004.
- Approved the employment of Joshua Seidel, building custodian, effective Feb. 7.
- Held an executive session for 30 minutes to discuss property acquisition, non-elected personnel, and to consult with legal counsel.
- Approved a settlement agreement with Bart Allen, former Business and Service Technology Department instructor, with the terms of the settlement to remain confidential.