Seven members attended the orientation of four new Trustees on Thursday evening. It was a pleasure meeting Erica Case and Kahri Phelps-Okoro, along with their Executive Assistant to the President of Milwaukee Area Technical College. Kristin Crass (Mid-State) and Michael Scwab (Moraine Park) also attended. Steve Tenpas explained our structure, how we are member driven, and how our Executive Director and licensed lobbyist, Layla Merrifield, is our voice in the State Capital on Legislative issues. The WTCS systems Board is our Governing body and works with the Department of Public Instruction in awarding our 50% of the Perkins grants to Wisconsin. For more insight to the Systems Board, refer to my report from the 2018 Winter meeting at CVTC – Eau Claire where Executive Vice President Jim Zylstra talked on Best Practices, Advocacy and Accountability for Trustees, and how the State Board interacts with us.
Steve again referred everyone to a history booklet by former Executive Director Earl Mihlbauer and Jerry Schoenike found on the District Boards website.
Our In-Service was dedicated to Understanding College Budgets, and was very well presented by CFO Mark Thomas, and Budget Director Sylvia Ramirez – both of Madison College. The agenda was formatted to grow our knowledge of what we need to know as Trustees, focusing on outcomes and where we want our Colleges to end up in the long run, and enhancing our ability to analyze and ask effective questions.
All sixteen districts use the same Fund Accounting format. The WTCS Board – through their Policy – “supports the concept of our Colleges being funded from diversified revenue sources”, which include the two local property tax levy levies ( operating and debt service ), State Aids, Program Fees (Tuition), Material, and other Student fees, Federal Aids, and other Institutional fees such as interest earnings.
It was noted that state aid to the WTCS accounts for a mere 3.1% of the top ten expenditure categories by the state of Wisconsin. Most of that, over 78%, is dedicated to property tax relief. The remainder funds general aid, outcomes based funding, and competitive grants.
As a Board, pay attention to key indicators: Enrollment trends, student accounts in collection, Bond ratings, and unreserved fund balances to expenses. Note that Fund Balances can be reserved, or unreserved. Be aware that tuition does not cover the entire cost of Instruction. Take advantage of ‘Net-New Construction' and use the maximum allowed to fund college operations. Maximize Instruction and balance staff with adjunct faculty during periods of declining enrollment. One well-respected President in attendance advised to be prepared for ‘the next 2008’ and plan for ‘gearing up’ to the demands created from an influx of students to our Colleges.
After the in-service, we were given an option for one of two tours on the NWTC Green Bay Campus. I chose to tour the Great Lakes Energy Education Center. This newly open center has solar, geothermal, electric-power, and natural gas components for career preparation in energy generation, distribution, recovery, and analysis. It was noted that because of their geographic location, wind energy is not a viable resource. Following that campus tour, we visited Lambeau Field where we witnessed the external partnership between NWTC and the Green Bay Packer organization firsthand. NWTC President Dr. Jeffrey Rafn spoke during a ‘working lunch’ about their joint efforts in marketing, fund raising, internships, and other community efforts. Following lunch, we had a short tour of the Lambeau facilities.
WTCS Presidents Association: Bonnie Baerwald reported on their group’s expanded taskforces: HLC and dual-enrollments / youth options, Higher Ed Solutions for adult and part-time worker students, Incarcerated individual training, Best Practices for Workforce Development (look at States outside of Wisconsin), Special populations including veterans, people with addictions, autism, etc., and attracting and retaining businesses in our Districts.
WTCS Insurance Trust: Ron Bertieri - Surrounding States have compulsory requirements for Workers Comp, and 13 of the 16 Colleges have reported they have employees who reside outside of Wisconsin. DMI is not licensed but the Trust can be used as a vehicle for billing individual Colleges who would be required to each pay the premiums. The 15 Colleges (7 in person and 8 by Wis-line) voted to approve the measure. There is confusion as to designation of voting authority for each College on issues such as this. The Employee Benefits Consortium has accumulated $7.5 million in stop-loss savings and $2.1 million in Pharmacy savings since its inception. Their 3-year average premium increase is 3-4% vs 7-9% nationally.
By-Laws – The Committee voted to add a policy on misconduct to our By-Laws.
External Partnerships – Eighteen members from twelve Colleges attended. They reviewed NTC’s shared relationships with the Packer organization. Also discussed College Come-Back initiative.
Internal Best Practices – Chair Lori Laberee reported 13 members from 8 Districts attended. Topics included expanding our Awards program
President’s Report – President Carla Hedtke reported she has attended three Budget workshops with the Systems Board on our behalf, and also thanked NWTC for hosting us, reporting that forty-eight Trustees and eight Presidents were in attendance along with representatives of the WTCS and the System Board.
Assistant Director Report – Steve Tenpas gave details about our Fall meeting October 11-13th at FVTC in Appleton. Understanding the Responsibilities of Positions of Power and Influence will be the focus.
Executive Director Report – Layla reported the WTCS will seek an additional $23 million ($826-$1000/student) for need-based student financial aid, because a wait-list persists for eligible WTCS students who qualify for grants. They’re also planning a ‘road-show’ by region meeting with local legislators & Presidents, and a new digital ad campaign is coming from Katy Pettersen and the Statewide Marketing Consortium.
Board of Directors Meeting: – The Annual Planning meeting will be August 24th-25th in Madison. Layla will meet with her cohorts (National Council of State Association of Chief Executives) prior to the ACCT Leadership Conference to consider future recommendations to the ACCT for Board Development.