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.