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SIC Board Takes Action on New Bachelor Degree Agreement

The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Tuesday, July 12 at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room to unanimously pass an agreement with Missouri Baptist University to offer a Bachelor’s Degree at SIC for area students.

Officials say that the university approached SIC with the idea and made the project happen rapidly.

“We are excited to be able to partner with Missouri Baptist University in offering quality, in-demand programs close to home.  This 2+2 agreement allows students to seamlessly transfer SIC coursework into a bachelor’s degree program saving them time and money,” stated Dr. Karen Weiss, Vice President of Academic Affairs.

A Missouri Baptist spokesperson touted the university’s low tuition and successful programs at other colleges with this agreement.

The recent stop gap funding measure passed by the state was discussed in depth by the board.

“Some money is better than no money.  But some money is not enough,” said President Dr. Jonah Rice. “That’s my take away message from this.  The state can’t go on forever and not expect lasting repercussions to hamper growth.”

Rice reported that the recent stopgap provided SIC with about 33 percent of what the state owes the college for fiscal year 2017.

“Considering that we are still owed over $2 million from last year, it is easy to say that there will be a lot of negative balances in higher education for back to back years,” added Rice.

Trustee Dr. Frank Barbre said that trustees across the State are worried that this impasse could go on for some time.

“If that happens, that will put a great strain on all of higher education, including SIC,” said Barbre.

Rice informed the board that when he took office, the end of year audit showed SIC only had $17,000 in the coffers.

“If we were now where we were then, it would be a very, very desperate time.  I commend the board for being conservative and keeping the doors open,” said Rice.

A tentative budget will be approved at the next meeting and end of year calculations for this past fiscal year should be final.

Rice estimates that the State will not pay in full, but said since there is no budget nor guidance from the Illinois Community College Board on how much funding will come from Springfield, it is anybody’s guess as to how to budget anything beyond the 33 percent committed.

“If that’s all that will be funded, this will be a long year.  If we get another payment just like it, it will still be a long year.  We need strong, stable funding of substance as a public educational institution,” added Rice.

Protection, Health, Safety work continues in the student center as well as upgrades to elevators, the water tower, and other projects on campus.  A bid from Jim Taylor, Inc., for a new roof on T Building was approved as well.

The Memorial Brick Project raised over $30,000 total for the Foundation’s drive in working with Student Government to construct a tornado memorial and refinish the fountain on the patio.

“We are so grateful to the Student Government and the SIC Foundation for this project,” Rice said.

Extra funds from the project will go towards endowment funds for future projects.

In personnel, the board accepted the resignation of Kiley Adams, financial aid specialist, effective June 2, approved the employment of Melisa Berendson as a full-time nursing instructor, and Dominique Taylor as a full-time financial aid specialist.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room.