SIC Board Takes Steps to Save Taxpayers Money

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    The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Tuesday, July 16, and took the first of two actions to refinance prior bonds to reduce taxes for district taxpayers for up to nearly $100,000.
    “Our Board wants to take advantage of cheaper interest rates to reduce the burden to taxpayers,” said Dr. Pat York, chairman of the SIC Board.
    The refinancing will not mean a savings to the College per se, but rather a direct reduction to the tax burden on local taxpayers. The vote was unanimous to pursue the break to taxpayers.
    The Board also took action to revise and shorten the time for completion for the truck driving program.
    “By decreasing the class time requirement, students can complete the CDL course in four weeks, putting them on the path toward employment in a shorter amount of time, which is the goal of any short-term workforce training program,” stated Dr. Weiss, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “It’s a win-win for students and employers.”
    Board Vice-Chair, Dr. Frank Barbre provided updates about the trustees association and provided verification of board professional development training and the upcoming statewide planning meeting. He also thanked trustee Jim Ellis for preparing and donating a farewell meal for Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) retiring executive director, Mike Monaghan.
    “That’s great ambassadorship by Mr. Ellis on behalf of SIC and our district,” said Barbre.
    Barbre also noted highlights from the annual ICCTA awards ceremony, including SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice’s Advocacy Award.
    “The award is not always given, and only one is given at a time,” said Barbre. “This is a prestigious award.”
    In non-action discussion, the board was informed about dual credit and upcoming developmental education legislation.
    SIC provides nearly a half a million dollars to local high school students to speed their time to completion with a post-secondary credential. Additionally, legislation expected to pass later this year will require colleges and universities to eliminate much of their developmental education and revise placement measures.
    “The goal is to speed time to completion for students,” said SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice. “The trick is to not set students up for failure if they are not ready for a higher level math class, for instance, if they haven’t had a math class for many years.”
    Rice added, “We have tried multiple strategies in our own efforts to reduce developmental education, and our research shows that co-requisite courses in English, for instance, have resulted in a nearly triple success rate in comparison to the traditional developmental education approach.”
    The board also reviewed proposed policies on controlled substances on campus and a proposal from the Saline Valley Conservancy District (SVCD) to use the SIC water tower to provide additional water pressure to SVCD. Recent changes in Illinois regarding marijuana necessitated policy revision, while the water tower proposal was reviewed by the College’s legal counsel.
    Discussion led to the board asking for one more meeting with SVCD and college officials to see if a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached by the September Board meeting where the board will take a vote on whether to pursue such an agreement or not.
    In personnel, the board approved the transfer of Maggie Calcaterra from advisor to psychology instructor. The board approved several new hires including; Alison Edmund as biology instructor, Gareth York as theater instructor, Jared Drake as men’s basketball coach/academic success monitor, Sabrina Stout and Amy Hicks as nursing instructors, Matt Vavro as women’s basketball coach/fitness center coordinator, Rachel Atkins as cosmetology instructor, Michael Intravaia as food service manager, Travis Bond as academic advisor and approved to hire a number of adjunct faculty. The board also approved nursing instructor Karen McConnell’s retirement.
    The next meeting of the board will be Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room at SIC. More information about SIC can be found at www.sic.edu.

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