April 2020 Meeting Minutes

April 2020 Meeting Minutes

Board of Trustees

09 April 2020


The North Arkansas College Board of Trustees met in regular session on Thursday, 09 April via phone conference. Chair R.G. Earnest called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m. Trustees Kevin Cheri, Bill Lovell, David Evans, Chris McNew, Sarah Newman, Scott Miller, and Don Tomlinson were present.

North Arkansas College personnel attending included Don Sugg, Dr. Laura Berry, with guest James White from Harrison Daily Times.

Approval of Agenda

Chair Earnest asked if there were any changes to the agenda as presented. There being none, the agenda stood approved.

Regular Reports

Finance Report—Don Sugg shared financials through March 31 2020.

In the E&G fund, we are right at 75 % of the year. The revenue was exceeding last year’s performance and at 83% of revenue.  The Y-T-D tuition, includes the spring semester, revenue is at 92% of budget. He stated the total expense of the budget was trending at 74.9 %. He pointed out in expenditures; salaries and benefits combined comes to 74.5% of the budget with operating being close to 25%. We do have a net gain of $1,131,792, compared to last year’s net gain at this time of $386,000. He highlighted the E&G revenue is on trend.

Auxiliary: The total revenue year- to- date exceeds the point of last year’s year- to date revenue. He stated the net gain is at $23,799, slightly less than at this point last year. He stated the bookstore is closed, but we are taking call in orders.

Don Sugg stated on March 23rd, due to the pandemic, the state would be cutting $332, 000 for this fiscal year. We managed to adjust various departments and categories in expenditures to come up with savings and with our net gain we were able to meet the balance. He stated he was informed there will be more reductions for the next fiscal year. We will experience about 8.5 % effect on the general revenue. We were scheduled to receive performance reduction of $118,000, we will also receive another $630,000 reduction, and with the economy currently, it effects our Educational Excellence trust fund, estimating about $49,000, Work Force possible will be effected about $57,000. Totaling all listed, it is estimated about $906,000 in State reductions. Don stated pre- enrollment at day seven compared to last year’s day seven is at 42% down, however this will change and enrollment could increase.  He stated it is possible that the college will qualify for the Care Act fund of $1,400,000. Dr. Esters stated the federal money can only be used on direct expenses with COVID-19. Trustee Evans asked about small business could receive relief. Don stated will be applying for this opportunity.  We are currently in the process of the budget preparation and we are on target for the board approval in May.  

President’s Report—Dr. Esters informed the group a letter was sent to our Northark employees on March 13, 2020. Since that time we have closed the campus other than essential personnel. We have made adjustments to the essential personnel; alternating work schedules, moving office space to keep from sharing space, moved all classes to on-line. He thanked the deans and the department chairs for their hard work with the transition.  We are having challenges with some of our programs, such as the clinical, but we are working with those and are having success. We are continuing to stay a world class institution for our students. We are reaching out to all students to help with their needs for their academics. He mentioned our tutors are available on-line to help our students. All office phones have been transferred to a cell phones.  Dr. Esters stated the enrollment number is down at this time, but hoping the numbers will bounce back up once things get back to some normalcy.  He stated the federal money, $722,000 will directly go towards students however we are not aware how it will be distributed.  

Dr. Esters mentioned as Don Sugg stated, budget cuts are inevitable. We received indication from State the Performance Excellence funding will be cut. We are $118,000 short before the additional cuts. He is hopeful that our Legislatures will suspend the formula funding cut. It has not been voted on, but he is assuming there will be a 10% cut before January.

Dr. Esters highlighted the two policies listed on the Consent agenda; Incomplete Grade policy and Grades and Graders policy.  The Incomplete Grade has an addition of Exceptions to this policy may be made for catastrophic, institutional wide circumstances with the approval of the President or his/her designee. A grade of “IC” may be used instead of “I” under catastrophic circumstances.  

The Grades and Graders policy has an addition of ‘IC” Incomplete Catastrophic grade.

Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda included the March Regular Meeting Minutes, March Special Meeting, Policies; Incomplete Grading and Grades and Grading.  Chair Earnest asked for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. A motion was made by Trustee Lovell, seconded by Trustee McNew, and unanimously approved.

New Business

Executive Session was held at 2:30pm on April 09, 2020 to discuss the annual president’s evaluation. Trustee Evans presented the recommendation of extending Dr. Ester’s contract an additional year. He and the board praised Dr. Esters on his leadership during challenges of this year. 

Chair Earnest asked for a motion to approve the New Business. A motion was made by Trustee Evans, seconded by Trustee Lovell, and unanimously approved.


Trustee Miller moved to adjourn the meeting. Trustee Newman seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.