By David Seeley
The Poteau Daily News
The Carl Albert State College Board of Regents approved a $4.5 per credit hour tuition raise, now making it an even $100 per credit hour, during its June meeting Tuesday afternoon inside the F.L. Holton Business Center’s Regents Room. This past school year, the tuition was $95.50 per credit hour.
Several budgets were approved during Tuesday’s meeting, with the big one being the fiscal year 2022-23 overall budget, which has been set at $12,442,000. CASC President Jay Falkner said that that amount includes an almost three percent increase in state appropriations.
Another budget approved by the Regents were a $2,748,851 for the fiscal year 2022-23 state assessment services budget, which CASC State Assessment Services and Human Resources Director Will Higgins said was an increase of $330,000 due to drug testing.
The board also approved the 2022-23 Power I budget at $293,000 and the Scholars for Excellence budget at $141,000, which CASC Chief Financial Officer Brian Roberts said was a $33,000 increase due to payroll increases.
The Regents approved the bookstore budget for $594,500 at the Poteau campus and $173,500 at the Sallisaw campus as well as $575,000 for the food service budget.
Falkner also gave the financial reports for April and May. April ended with a balance of $8,777,866, which was an increase of $1,329,274 from April 2021. May ended with a balance of $8,364,673, an increase of $1,178,044 from May 2021.
The board approved Roberts’ recommendation for CASC to join the College Association of Liability Management for worker’s compensation insurance, since the cost of $15,200 was lower than past years.
The board also approved three bids dealing with two projects. The Regents approved a $32,500 bid from Johnson Construction for the concrete portion of the residence halls parking lot, while the asphalt aspect of that job went to MGS Construction for $75,514 — making the total cost $108,014.
However, Mandy Roberts, the senior executive Director of the CASC Development Foundation, said that the organization’s board of trustees at its semi-annual meeting May 5 voted to donate $110,000 to the school, which is going to be used to help fund the project.
The Regents also approved a $240,681.14 bid from J&B Supply to replace the cooling tower at Delores Mitchell Library at the Sallisaw campus. CASC Physical Plant Director Chuck Lewis said that the new tower, which will be made of stainless steel, likely won’t arrive until after the first of the year.
In his president’s report, Falkner talked about two grants that have either arrived or will be arriving. He mentioned about a $100,000 Cherokee Nation Grant for Child Development, which was received on CASC’s behalf at the Sallisaw campus, that will be used to help construct a state-of-the-art child development classroom. The other is a $300,000 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Nursing Grant that will be arriving soon.
Falkner gave the Regents an update on the latest meeting of the Long Term and Strategy Subcommittee a couple of weeks ago, in which that board decided that it needed to take care on what’s is happening on “all sides of the institution as far as the academic part,” CASC’s workforce development and strategic plan, and “possible strategies” to take care of those issues. Falkner said that CASC-Sallisaw Campus Director Jamie Henson will spearhead a large part of leadership in these efforts, which will start taking shape in July.
“We got the right person with our effort,” Falkner said about Henson. “I think we have some good strategies. Now, we got the tools in place and resource allocation to push this thing forward. It’s a pretty large agenda to tackle, but we’re pretty excited.”
Roberts gave the board his report on the last meeting the Payroll and Personnel Subcommittee had, in which he “tweaked” some things.
“The first department at the top of the list is nursing,” Roberts said. “We’re going to dive into it and see what we can come up with. We’re in the process of looking for instructors, but we’re having a hard time. We’re going to try to come up with some better ideas, and see if we can resolve this problem. Once we get through nursing, we’ll pick our next victim.”
CASC Director of Marketing and Community Relations Holly Bormann shared with the Regents changes to Title IX Policy. Some of the major changes are expanding definitions, contact information added, expanded definition of sexual harassment, domestic violence and sanctions after a hearing, a better defined report than a formal complaint, better defined CASC jurisdiction on events and programs under CASC administration and operation and outlined steps in an investigation.
“The biggest change that was made was that under the previous guidelines, if a person refuses to subject themselves to cross examination during a Title IX hearing, the decision maker, meaning the person reviewing the evidence, was prohibited from considering information that person provided during the prior investigation,” Bormann said. “Now, if a person does not wish to be subjected to cross examination, the decision maker can consider the information they provided during the investigation in the basis of justification of their final ruling. Our policy was updated to reflect that.”
However, Regent Ron Lawson, who did not have the opportunity to thoroughly study all the many pages (close to 40) of the new policy, made a recommendation to table approving the updated Title IX Policy, which Bormann said would not be a major issue. However, she did say that it would be beneficial if the board would approve the updated policy before school started in August.
So, Regent Deanna Reed made the initial motion, with Regent Mark Caldwell seconding the motion, to table taking any action until a more initial study of the updated Title IX Policy could take place.
Falkner shared with the board about using Ramona Munsell and Associates Consulting, Incorporated, since that firm is currently working on a co-op grant competition to form a “partnership” with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami. The board unanimously approved the memorandum of understanding with the firm.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for us,” Falkner said. “We were contacted by them last week about a competition that is happening now where the Tribal serving NASNTI (Native America-Serving Nontribal Institution Program) institutions co-op with another institution and partner on some initiatives that focus on better serving Tribal students. One of those is in faculty development.”
Lewis shared with the board the update on the Campus Master Plan, in which he stated the three most important projects for CASC to undertake — roofs, a fieldhouse for the CASC baseball team and working on the kitchen and dining room at the Costner-Ballentine Student Center. The Regents approved the recommendation with the condition that local architect Michael Riley could draw up some plans for the projects and potential costs.
Lewis also told the board that CASC received the most Section 13 offset funds ever, $1,000,000 for dealing with capital improvements. Roberts also mentioned that there is still a “reserve” amount of $500,000 that could be used as well, making the total funds available $1,500,000.
After an approximately 36-minute executive session, the Regents approved all the personnel matters.
The board accepted the retirements of State Assessment Assistant Director Frankie Evans effective March 31, nursing instructor Lois Gotes effective June 30, State Assessment Services Assessment Specialist Thomas Trent effective Sept. 30 and State Assessment Services Accounts Payable Specialist Kathy Worley effective Dec. 31.
The Regents approved the resignations or terminations of Food Service Cashier/Attendant Reagan Hillebrand effective June 30, Director of Admissions Jessica Lloyd effect last month, Assistant Baseball Coach Kory Pollard effective last month and Power I Program Specialist Ashley Watts effective July 8.
The board approved the hirings of Blake Andrews as the new assistant wrestling coach, Caleb Dolan as the digital media instructor and Jack Moeller as the new math instructor.
The Regents approved the changes of status of Bormann as director of marketing and communications, Evans as assistant director west for state assessment services, Huggins as executive director of human resources/state assessment services, Kaitlin Allen as student services representative, Janet Boggs as assistant director east for state assessment, Cassidy Bottoms as assistant registrar/veterans affairs coordinator, Pat Broadwater as administrative assistant II to vice-president of academic affairs, Rena Brooks as business office accounting specialist, Erika Castillo as academic resource specialist II, Justus Christie, Hubbard Crelia, Randy Dodson, Jackie McDaniel, John Reed, Kim Robinson and Jerra Wright as an assessment specialists, Amber Cottrell as an admissions specialist, Devin Covey as business office student account manager, Jason Cowger as state assessment services information technology/administrative assistant, Kelvin Davis as assistant director of pyschometry, Dee Ann Dickerson as registrar, Savannah Fabian as business office/state assessment services clerk, Karen Ford as an administrative assistant to Scholars for Excellence, Bobby Gabehart as statewide advocacy specialist, Stacey Harrison as business office/financial aid accounts manager, Deborah Hunt as business office payroll coordinator, Tina Kingrey as human resources representative, Jerri Lowrimore as Enterprise software support specialist, Dylanna Marcaurelle as Power I program specialist, Tawni Morgan and Becky Otto as business office accounts payable clerks, Stephen Muniz, Lisa Perry and Shannon Vickers as psychometrists, Paul Pulley as CASC baseball coach, Jamie Reynolds as an advocacy specialist, Regina Risley as student services specialist, Kerstein Rothermel as director of admissions, Amanda Sabatucci as business office manager and Kaylee Standridge as data collection specialist.
The board appointed individuals to 26 added duty list positions — Bormann as Title IX coordinator, records and retention coordinator, Maurica Anderson as assistant director of nursing, Randy Armstrong as e-sports coordinator, Pat Broadwater as American with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, Chad Brown as director of campus police, Sarah Brown as coordinator for virtual campus, Bill Carroll as the division chairmans for health sciences and health, physical education and recreation (HPER), Bill Gann for division chairmans of business and technology as well as the commencement coordinator, Susan Hill as developmental coordinator and reports, Kristi McConnell as the safety coordinator and the division chairman for social and behavioral sciences, Shara Olive as the student conduct officer, Crystal Robertson as the division chairmans for language arts and fine arts, Hunter Sisemore as e-sports coach, Kristen Snyder as CASC cross country coach, Brook Wiersig as the division chairmans of the math and science departments, Samantha Piper as the Phi Theta Kappa Co-Advisor, Katherine Salisbury as the Phi Theta Kappa Contact Co-Advisor and Hali Repass as the CASC Alumni Association coordinator.
Only the concurrent education coordinator position was not filled.
The board also approved of the new officers for the upcoming fiscal year 2023 — Lawson as chairman, Carroll Huggins as vice-chairman and Lavon Williams as secretary — as well as approving three new trustees — Michael Carpenter, Jay Neugin and Dwayne Leonard. CASC Board of Regents Chairman Belva Barber officiated her final board meeting in this capacity, and Falkner gave her an appreciative token of recognition for her service.
Also, Falkner announced that he received word from the Oklahoma Heritage Society that CASC Development Foundation Trustee and Executive Board member Buddy Spencer will be inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in November, joining CASC’s other member to be so honored — former CASC President Joe White.
Roberts said the internal audit had “no exceptions” and was approved by the Regents.