Feb 20, 2014 – the Post-Post

The meeting wrapped up with announcements. These were a hodge-podge but one item of particular interest was a comment by Trustee Savage about retirees returning to work: she reported hearing from trustees at other colleges that they are now pulling back from this.

Trustee Svoboda reported on the PE mural and loss of college history overall. She has been working with President Brueder on what action can be brought to the board.

The next meeting of the COD Board of Trustees is scheduled for March 20, 2014.

The board went back into closed session, with no further business to be conducted afterward.

Final Notes to All Citizens and Friends:

To suggest a correction of any error in these posts, please email codfaboardblog@gmail.com.

We encourage anyone who has questions or comments about the meeting to direct them to COD’s Trustees, elected representatives who oversee the College of DuPage on behalf of the citizens of the district. More information about the BOT and the trustees can be found here: http://www.cod.edu/about/board_of_trustees/

More information about the College of DuPage Faculty Association can be found at our website, codfaculty.org. CODFA is composed of the members of the full-time faculty and elects its own officers and Senate. This blog is a project of the Communications Committee of the Faculty Senate.

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Feb 20, 2014 – Post 3

NEW BUSINESS

Concealed Carry Policy. Trustees Svoboda and McGuire commented positively on the policy. The policy was unanimously approved.

Local 399 Union of Operating Engineers Contract Extension. Trustee Savage abstained. Trustee McGuire abstained. The contract extension was approved.

Tuition and Fees FY2015. Trustee Hamilton tried to amend the motion but it had already been moved and seconded. Hamilton spoke to the mission of the institution and its affordability, saying that the college has significant cash reserves, and referenced the community members who spoke against the tuition increase. Trustee Savage agreed and also mentioned the increase in enrollment that has brought new revenues. Student Trustee Torres also spoke on behalf of the students and said that she did not believe that the increase should be so much. Trustee Wozniak stated that he had been a struggling COD student once and that it was hard for students to pay extra money. Trustee McGuire reported on her conversation with a trustee from Harper who explained a policy that pegs their tuition increases to the CPI, along with other conditions.

Chair Birt called on Tom Glazer to speak to the trustees. He had a prepared presentation. He showed $6.6 million in scheduled cost increases based on labor contracts, health insurance premiums, and inflation. He also expressed concern about state payments and showed a graph with a flat line of state funding far below an (idealized?) 33% state funding level. He also showed a shortfall in debt service. The student fee increase $1 is to provide access to the new fitness center and new activities in the outdoor venue. He also showed a comparison chart to other community colleges in which our percentage increase is at the bottom, although our actual price in absolute dollars is the highest. He stated that we do not bring tuition increases to the board lightly. He stated that he would like direction from the Board in the case that they did not approve the increases, where would they like the money to come from?

Trustee Svoboda asked whether students had been consulted about whether they wanted the additional access to the fitness center or the amphitheater. Glazer stated that they had changed the business plan for the fitness center and they had asked the SLC to support the additional fee, which we heard support for in Sam’s comments at the beginning of the meeting. Trustee Savage commented that on other campuses, fitness facilities have worked well to build community, extend students’ time on campus, and involve them in wellness activities.

President Brueder made several comments comparing the fund balance and state funding situation at COD in comparison to the U of I system. He emphasized that we are not out of line and repeated Glazer’s point that the board should give direction in the case that they don’t approve the increase.

Glazer continued his presentation with a breakout of planned reserve funding. Reduction of reserves for SURS, IT. Large new reserves to be established for Retiree OPEB Liability and a new classroom building. This plan would significantly reduce the fund balance overall.

Brueder also posited that the major need for new money comes from increased costs for salary and health insurance and commented that stakeholders protesting the tuition increases are the same ones who benefit from those costs.

Trustee McGuire commented that the fund balance is much greater than board policy calls for. Trustee Hamilton commented that money is fungible, that it can be moved and used in different ways. Chair Birt stated that the direction the administration has been given in the past and the concerns explained, that the increase is prudent.

Roll call. Torres: no. Svoboda: no. Wozniak: no. Hamilton: no: Birt: yes. O’Donnell: yes. Savage: no. McGuire: no.

The college attorney proceeded to explain to the board how a new motion could be made. Concerns were aired regarding process and the Open Meetings requirements.

Trustee Savage moved that the $2 debt service and $1 activity fees be approved and that tuition not be raised.

Chair Birt objected and said that she wanted to have a discussion so they would not have to work through motion after motion. The attorney intervened again and said they could discuss the topic first. Trustee Torres and Trustee Svoboda indicated support for a somewhat lower increase overall.

Discussion continued…. Trustee McGuire stated very emphatically that she was completely comfortable with spending down the reserve.

Svoboda moved a $1 tuition increase and the $3 in fees. This motion passed 4-3.

Torres: yes. Wozniak: yes. Hamilton: no. Birt: yes. ODonnell: yes. McGuire: no. Savage: no. Svoboda: yes.

Feb 20, 2014 – Post 2

Presentations

Chuck Currier presented three technology services. He emphasized the very large number of devices that connect through COD’s IT services, 13,000 per day.

  • IntelliResponse. This is the natural language searching function on the College website. Demonstrated how it works on a mobile device (he used his phone because the laptop at the podium was not wired correctly and did not have an Internet connection).
    • Trustee McGuire asked what percentage of students are online. It’s around 12 percent, but only about a quarter of those are truly “distance” learners; the rest are taking a mixture of online and face-to-face classes.
  • Google Maps. Again using his phone, Currier demonstrated that floor plans and room numbers are now available, along with walking routes for pedestrians on campus.
  • Chap App. Student gets notifications, can view schedule, grades for each term. Notifications can include reasons for registration holds. Student events and other types of information such as frequently called numbers available thru menus. This will be available starting around the end of next week.

Student Trustee’s Report. SLC fundraising project March 3-7 with a pre-sale week in addition. The sale of bracelets benefits charity. Partnered with Phi Theta Kappa.

Consent Agenda. No items were removed from the Consent Agenda. Comments:

  • Trustee Savage asked for a correction to the minutes to reflect that she did not vote aye on the police contract – she abstained. Chair Birt stated that the correction had been made in the most current minutes.
  • Trustee Svoboda made a comment to congratulate the newly tenured faculty members.
  • Trustee McGuire commented that she was very satisfied with an explanation she received regarding the use of outside educational partners to provide certain programs.

The Consent Agenda was approved unanimously.

Feb 20, 2014 – Post 1

Roll Call & Other Opening Acts

The meeting is called to order and all trustees are present. The approval of the agenda proceeded without discussion.

A closed session was announced for early in the meeting. The public comments proceeded first.

College of DuPage Employees:

Glenn Hansen, President of the Faculty Association and Faculty Senate, congratulated colleagues being recommended for tenure. Hansen challenged the process by which items are placed on the Board’s agenda and asked when a decision would be made about the PE mural issue and the Return to Work policy. He asked, where is the video, and why are the meetings not being streamed? He protested the use of transferred operating funds to build a new building. He admonished the board as trustees and representatives elected by citizens for raising tuition and fees at the expense of those who can least afford it.

Richard Jarman, Vice President of the Faculty Association, also addressed financial issues, pointing to the common practice of benchmarking tuition increases with other schools. He reviewed a sequence of financial decisions including the recent tax abatement, as well as the very large contribution to the fund balance at the end of the last fiscal year. At face value, he said, regardless of the complexities and nuances of COD’s finances, it appears as though we are giving money to those who are most able to pay while taking money from those least able.

College of DuPage Students:

Monica Dinh, COD freshman, spoke on behalf of students who work hard and study hard, who value their education because they pay for it themselves or whose parents truly make significant sacrifices. She asked the board not to add to their financial burden.

Sam Guererro, member of the Student Leadership Council, asked that the Board reduce the proposed increase in order to mitigate the effect of a large increase. He stated having a much larger jump in the future would also negatively impact students.

Jerry Vachaparambil, a COD alum, said that COD should live within its means, referring to his business ethics class and what he learned about stakeholder theory.

The board went into closed session to discuss confidential personnel matters.

Feb 20, 2014 Board Meeting Preview

Tonight’s board packet can be downloaded in full from this link:
http://www.cod.edu/about/board_of_trustees/pdf/packets/2014feb20packet.pdf

To make the packet easier to review, save it to your computer and open it in Adobe Reader. Under the View menu, select Navigation Panels, then select Bookmarks. An outline of the full document will appear on the left side of the pdf.

Tonight’s Consent Agenda contains a number of items of interest to all, including the following:

  • Item 9.B.7 includes appointment of a new tenure-line faculty member in Education and recommendations for tenure for eight full-time faculty.
  • Item 9.B.8 lists administrator reappointments including their contract length. By referring to this list, you can see the end date of each administrator’s contract, using the symbol key at the bottom of the page. Administrators whose names do not appear will not have their contracts renewed/extended.

Under New Business, there are three items.

  • Concealed Carry Policy (10.B.1) is up for approval this month. This items was previously presented for information last month but was not discussed at the meeting.
  • New Business Item 10.B.2 is a contract extension for the Operating Engineers Union Local #399.
  • Tuition and Fees FY2015 (10.B.3) is listed for approval at tonight’s meeting. Several pages of analysis/rationale accompany this item. The increase in cost per credit hour to students is $6, from $140 to $146.