Enrollment keeps ACCC in the black

Register Reporter

Allen County Community College board of trustees learned Thursday night that enrollment numbers are still rising and its financial status is solid, if never as rich as anyone would like.
Neil Phillips, of Jarred, Gilmore and Phillips accountants, told the board the college completed its fiscal year in the black.
“Basically, what you’re seeing is a positive year,” Phillips said.
“We actually decreased our liabilities last year by $17,008,” Phillips said, primarily by being able to pay down on the college’s financial obligations to capital improvements.
Grants, tuition and fees brought in $997,000, Phillips said.
“Federal grants are not money we can spend,” but come in the form of tuition and fees, said ACCC President John Masterson.
All told, the college received $6.1 million in federal aid, $5.6 million of that as financial aid to students.
“That’s putting $6.1 million of federal tax money into the local economy,” Masterson said.
Salary costs increased $376,000, up 8 percent from 2008.
“It takes more money to teach more students,” Phillips noted. Total instructional budget is just over $7 million, he said, comprising 37 percent of the college’s budget.
Operations and maintenance costs rose $120,000 while academic support increased $39,000 and scholarships and awards rose by $726,000.
Even though state contributions decreased, the college made up for it with tuition funds from increased enrollment, Phillips said. Over all, “33 percent of your money comes in as state appropriations,” Phillips told the board.
About $1 million comes to the college through a 16 mill county levy. In comparison, Masterson noted that Neosho County’s levy is 30 mills, providing their college with a bit over $4 million annually.
“I’m not saying we should raise our mills,” Masterson said. Instead, he supports careful management of existing funds.
“We do a lot with what we have,” Masterson acknowledged. “We’re pretty frugal.”
The college cut travel expenses by 15 percent, and Masterson noted employees know intrinsically not to leave lights burning at night and take other common sense measure to help reduce expenses.
“In times of emergency, this college has always responded really well,” Masterson said, noting that no matter what occurs, the college has one focus — “the core point is teaching students.”

AFTER THE audit report, the board heard form Benchmark Roof and Pavement Consultants representative Gary Elliot, who gave them an idea about materials and methods needed to reroof the college’s main academic building, student center and Horton Hall dormitory.
Elliot told the board that roof composition varies on the buildings, in some places having three or four old roofs atop each other, from gravel to sprayed-on polyurethane to fleece-backed rubber and asphalt over a primary concrete or steel deck. All need to come off.
“To meet code, you can’t put any more roofs up there,” Elliot said.
Elliot anticipated no major repairs to the concrete roof deck, but said there might be some rust in steel decked portions.
Benchmark proposed adding R-15 insulation over decking to meet Iola building codes, then topping that with gypsum board and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or KEE (ketone ethylene ester) plastic which would be heat-sealed at the seams.
The most challenging aspect of the job, Elliot said, was that the college’s buildings lacked sloped roofs, which prevent proper drainage and can contribute to leaking.
Benchmark plans to engineer a slight (under two inch) grade into the roofing material at building corners to encourage water flow into roof drains and other methods to prevent leakage.
If begun in May, Elliot said, the entire reroofing project should be completed before school resumes in August.
Benchmark, based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, works across the country, Elliot told the board. It has overseen roofing projects for USD 257 and the Bowlus Fine Arts Center.
A walk-through for potential contractors was suggested for February. Total project cost is expected to be about $1.3 million. The project is a planned expense.

ACCC is seeing continued enrollment growth, noted Dean of Student Affairs Randy Weber.
The college has enrolled 400 more students since Dec. 18, Weber said. Half of those are online students. Compared to last year, Weber said credit hours are up 10 percent, and head count is up by 5.3 percent, or 150 students. There will be 42 new students on the Iola campus when classes resume Jan. 20, Weber noted.
“We just keep rockin’ and rollin’,” he said. Numbers include outreach centers as well as the Iola campus.
In residence halls, 236 of 242 available beds are filled. “That’s’ a really good occupancy rate,” especially in spring, Weber said.
Two rooms are kept as models to show incoming students.

JON MARSHALL, vice president for academic affairs, said that a “teaching squares” program last semester was highly successful.
In the program, four groups of four and one of five teachers from disparate disciplines (both in class and online) observed each other’s teaching styles in order to evaluate and improve their own methods.
One example given was of a teacher who wrote on a white board, then stood in front of the writing. Marshall noted that observation easily translates into behavior change for teachers, who can take note of their own body placement when using the boards.
Before the teaching squares program was implemented, Marshall said “our teachers didn’t really have an acceptable institutionalized way of watching each other teach.”
The program continues with a new group of teachers this spring.