September 2019 Meeting Minutes

Board of Trustees

12 September 2019

 

The North Arkansas College Board of Trustees met in regular session on Thursday, 12 September 2019, in the Bennie Ellis Board Room on the South Campus. Chair Bill Lovell called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. Trustees Kevin Cheri, R.G. Earnest, David Evans, Chris McNew, Scott Miller, Sarah Newman, and Don Tomlinson were present.

North Arkansas College personnel attending included Brandon Cone, Micki Somers, Kevin Somers, Tavonda Brown, Joe Berry, Kim Potts, Dr. Rick Massengale, Nell Bonds, Scott Howie, Jennifer Marshall, Dr. Laura Berry, Dr. Rodney Arnold, Katie Vaughn, Don Sugg, Mandy Kilbourn, and Dr. Randy Esters.

Approval of Agenda

Chair Lovell 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 the FY2018-2019 financial report. For the E & G fund, revenues exceeded 9/10 of 1% of the budget and expenses finished under budget at 99.7% There was a net gain for the year of $241,499. This amount will be left in reserves for deferred maintenance. Trustee McNew asked how a category like “Benefits” can come in under budget for expenses. Mr. Sugg explained that we budget for family coverage for insurance, for example, but not every employee elects family coverage. The use of tuition reimbursement is another benefit that can easily come in under budget. Actual State Revenues slightly exceeded budgeted amounts, contributing to the net gain. Operating Expenses were slightly over budget.

The Auxiliary Fund finished under budget in expenses at 97.9%. However, revenues were also under budget at 92.4% (and 93.7% of the previous year). This resulted in a net loss of $70,826. This loss results in a fund balance of $4,981. Reduced revenue was due in large part to a College Store net budget of $173,769 but an actual net of $108,336. Mr. Sugg stressed that this is due in large part to the changing times and not a result of management or effort of the College Store staff.

Current changes that have been put in place in an effort to combat this trend include phasing out book rentals and raised Copy Center rates. Future considerations include the possibility of adopting a Course Materials Fee, total e-book service, an increased Student Activity Fee, adopting an Athletic Fee, and reducing athletic expenses.

Mr. Sugg also presented the financials for August. The Department of Finance is implementing the new system, so they are currently running both the old and new systems. The Educational & General Fund is in good standing, with tuition and fees just over 50% of budget. Other revenue is currently at 292.9% of budget due to the sale of the Center Campus. Trustee Tomlinson asked if there will be a monthly savings due to the sale; Mr. Sugg said there should be an overall savings, although it will be offset some by lease costs. The Auxiliary Fund is showing revenues book sales higher than expected, but collectively revenues are slightly down at 51.5% of budget. Expenses are up mostly due to salaries and benefits as a result of position changes from last year.

Trustee Miller asked why Auxiliary Funds are a separate category, and how losses are funded. Mr. Sugg explained that the separation is mandated because anything not specifically related to education and the classroom is not considered key operations. He said that Auxiliary is supported by the E&G fund if it goes into the red, but that such an event would likely lead to an inquiry by ADHE. However, Student Fees collected in E&G are rolled over to the Auxiliary Fund.

Trustee Tomlinson asked where the funds from the National Tournament went; that event was sponsored by the Pioneer Club, so the money went to that fund. Trustee McNew asked about the Student Activity Fee. Mr. Sugg that it has been raised to $4 per credit hour and could stay in the E&G fund if the budget allowed.

President’s Report—Dr. Esters started by clarifying that although the budgets may show a “surplus” at the end of the year, there is currently approximately $3M in deferred maintenance that has been put off for years, so any surplus is already spoken for by long needed repairs.

Fall Convocation was held at the Durand Center on August 15th. Dr. Esters thanked the Trustees who attended to show their support. This year he introduced “Kindness” as the theme of the year. Currently enrollment is down 135, which has an impact of approximately $120,000. Mr. Sugg added that this is the amount of loss budgeted for, so Spring enrollment has the opportunity to either harm or help. Dr. Esters encouraged everyone to take on the role of a recruiter and promoter for the College.

The Foundation recently hosted the Economic Update Breakfast with Mervin Jebaraj, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas. As always, it was an informative and entertaining event. The Northark Foundation Gold Tournament had a great turnout for its 20th year, with some teams being turned away because there were too many entries. This year’s winning team consisted of Jim Stockton, Stan Stockton, and Ron Syler, a fitting result since Mr. Jim Stockton was the founder of the tournament 20 years ago.

North Arkansas College has some outstanding opportunities starting, first with the recent MOU with UAMS which will provide a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science completely online. Students will be able to attend 2 years at Northark and complete the degree with UAMS without ever leaving their hometowns. We are also now officially a FANUC Approved Satellite Training (FAST) facility, the first in Arkansas and one of only 13 in the United States. Dr. Esters thanked Nell Bonds and her team for all their work, saying this is a really big deal for our school. We also have the opportunity to host the AR State Chamber for a Door to Door meeting, which is important because the state Chamber and 2-year colleges have been at odds in the past.

On September 19th there will be a ribbon cutting for the Adult Education program. They have relocated to the North Campus and will be hosting Open House events across the state on that date. We also have the first Battle of the Bands coming up on October 5th at 7 p.m. So far there are two bands interested, so encourage any musicians you may know to participate. Dr. Arnold added that he has been hearing a lot of people who think the event is only for student bands, but he wanted to clarify that it is open for any bands in the community. We will also be hosting Manufacturing Days again, this year on October 4th and 11th. Last year approximately 600 students attended, which is about the maximum. We are looking forward to Representative Womack being part of things this year.

With the rain cancellation of one of the Summer Movies, the Foundation will wrap up the event with a Halloween themed movie, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, on October 26th.

North Arkansas College is currently featured in nextPROS and the AR Times college guide, and the local Chamber of Commerce is working to put together a regional magazine in which we will be featured as well.

Another great opportunity we have coming up is the Legislative Update on September 26th in the LRC. The Student Government Association will be hosting Representatives Breaux, McNair, and Slape and Senators Davis and Flippo. They will have the chance to talk about what was important to each of them from the past session, what is upcoming, and where they feel the state is going.

Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda included the August Regular Meeting Minutes; Policies: Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of 2018 & Non-US Citizen Tuition; Acceptance of the FY2017-2018 Legislative Audit Report; Position Title Change (grant funded)—Educational Opportunity Center Assistant Director; Position Title Change (grant funded)—Educational Talent Search Assistant Director; Replacement Position (grant funded)—TRIO-SSS Advisor; and Replacement Position—Agricultural Facilities coordinator/Program Assistant.

Chair Lovell reminded the Board that the items were discussed in depth at the breakfast last week. He then asked for questions, of which there were none. Chair Lovell asked for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. A motion was made by Trustee Evans, seconded by Trustee Earnest, and unanimously approved.

Monitoring Report

Dr. Rick Massengale presented on “Education Experiences and Community Engagement” with data contributed by Dr. Rodney Arnold, Sarah Bing, Cherie Conner, and Linda Tamayo. First, he thanked the Board for his new position as the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, saying his wife explained it best when she said it already feels like home here.

Dr. Massengale concentrated on three areas: community, coursework, and grants. The goal of Community Education is to engage people, including a Cultural Anthropology class with an ethnographic focus on Italy before the study abroad trip. He is excited about the prospects of research and fieldwork projects at a 2-year college and is looking into grants to develop a cyber emphasis at Northark.

Dr. Massengale shared strategies for increasing and improving diverse experiences at Northark, saying that “diversity” is just talking about different ways of looking at things. The goal is to expose people to various ideas and cultures.

He shared that Foundation Support was down for FY2018-2019, but that is mainly because there has been a dip in estate donations. Despite this, the endowment is growing. Capital improvements objectives for the near future will be focused on fundraising, targeting campus housing and improvement of the baseball field.

Summer Camps have had a great turnout, with enrollment growing. Dr. Massengale noted the importance of reaching out to the kids of the community, saying if we can hook them now and get energy up we will be more likely to get them interested in attending Northark later. He shared strategies for improving community engagement, including meeting with community members to continue developing relevant camps, bring back non-traditional class times, further integrate and follow the directions of the Community Education Advisory Board, and actively recruit traditional and non-traditional students in the Carroll County area.

Trustee Cheri added that he is encouraged by the summer camps, saying that bringing kids to the campus early gets them comfortable with the idea of college even if they may not have been otherwise.

Following Dr. Massengale’s report, Paul Harp shared his story. Mr. Harp is the Distinguished Alumnus and started by thanking the Board for the opportunity to share his story. His education started at Jasper High School, and Mr. Harp is currently in charge of the logistical side of FedEx. Mr. Harp said he go where he is from a lot of help from his mentors, and that his emphasis has always been on continuous improvement. His motto has always been to make each day a little better than the last.

Mr. Harp started at Northark to be a chemist, but said his early chemistry grades showed him that it wasn’t what he wanted to do after all and he switched to business. After working with WalMart for 17 or 18 years, he started working in procurement for FedEx Freight. While in that position, a manager asked the team how their education would match up with their peers when things merged within FedEx. That’s when Mr. Harp came back to North Arkansas College and talked with an advisor about John Brown University. He was able to earn his degree via courses offered on the Center Campus. After he had earned that degree, his wife encouraged him to pursue graduate school through the University of Arkansas. He added a study-abroad in China, and then the various procurement departments of FedEx merged and the new VP requested resumés. Mr. Harp was prepared to compete academically.

Since then, he has started working on his dissertation in his “spare time” while traveling. Mr. Harp ended by saying that this wasn’t his story, it was our story. He shared that he wouldn’t be where he is today without Northark and thanked the Board for being the heroes of so many stories.

Chair Lovell added that what has always made Paul Harp stand out is his motivation to do better.

New Business

New Business items included Refunding Series 2012A and 2012B North Arkansas College Special Obligations Bonds—Bond Counsel and Bond Underwriter; and Approve Contract Award for Science Building HVAC Replacement Project. For the bond refunding, Mr. Sugg shared that Stephens mentioned that the market is weakening slightly but that it is still a good time for refinancing. He added that processing will take approximately 30 days, and that there will be no obligation or expense if there wouldn’t be a savings at the end of the processing time. Chair Lovell asked the Board if there were any further questions. There being none, he asked for a motion to approve the Bond Counsel and Bond Underwriter. A motion was made by Trustee Evans, seconded by Trustee Miller, and unanimously approved.

For the HVAC contract, Trustee Tomlinson asked why the lowest bidder had the chance to lower their bid but not Davis. Mr. Sugg answered that it is part of the state procurement process to first negotiate with the lowest bidder, then to move on to the next lowest if it was not possible to come to an agreement with the first. Chair Lovell added that the engineers spoke highly of Wagner General Contractors, Inc. Mr. Sugg added that while we would have liked to work with local contractors, the state procurement procedures legally bind us to the lowest bid. Kevin Somers added that his crew has identified less complex aspects of the job that Northark will be able to do onsite without the general contractor, which will lower the cost and allow for flexibility with classes in the Science Building. Chair Lovell asked for any further questions from the Board. There being none, he asked for a motion to approve the contract. Trustee Cheri provided the motion, which was seconded by Trustee Earnest and unanimously approved.

Trustee Evans moved to adjourn the meeting. Trustee Miller seconded the motion, which was then unanimously approved. The meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.