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2015 March 6 - 10:49 am

News Briefs

A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation

Tenn. Chancellor Calls for Full Funding of Formula

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Board of Regents system Chancellor John Morgan says TBR schools cannot meet the state’s college graduation goals unless the state fully funds its outcome-based education formula.

Tennessee’s Drive to 55 initiative aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate to 55 by the year 2025.

For the TBR system, that means graduating a minimum of 43,202 students by 2025. So far, the system is exceeding the trajectory needed to meet that goal. But Morgan warned that without proper funding, that trajectory may not last.

Morgan said funding is especially important as the TBR system prepares for its first class of Tennessee Promise freshmen. Roughly 57,000 Tennessee high school seniors have completed the initial applications for the last-dollar scholarship that provides free tuition for two years at a state community college or technical school.

The TBR system consists of six universities, 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology. Some TBR colleges expect their freshman classes to as much as double, and the four-year schools aren’t sure what it means for their class sizes, Morgan said.

Ill. Lawmakers Targeting College Payouts

CHICAGO (AP) — Republican lawmakers are targeting socalled “golden parachutes” after College of DuPage trustees approved a $762,000 buyout package for the school’s president.

Several legislators said they’re proposing bills to protect taxpayers from future large payouts. Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton says residents “are demanding action.”

One bill would cap the size of severance payouts. Another would make severance agreements subject to the state’s open records law so the public could review them.

Rep. Ron Sandack is sponsoring a measure that would reduce the state money a community college receives if its trustees take similar action.

College of DuPage trustees voted last week to give President Robert Breuder nearly three times his base salary when he retires in March 2016—three years before his contract expires.

Wife of Campus Cop Found Guilty In Meter Thefts

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California jury has convicted the wife of a former campus police officer for being an accessory to stealing more than $280,000 from campus parking meters at a community college in Santa Rosa.

The Press Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1zbwy9f) Karen Holzworth wiped her eyes as the jury delivered the verdict.

The 50-year-old woman faces up to 3 ½ years in prison when she is sentenced March 26.

Her husband, Jeff Holzworth, was sentenced to four years in prison last year for stealing the money from automated machines at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Prosecutors say Jeff Holzworth stole $287,000 over an eight-year period. They say his wife exchanged the bills and coins at banks and that the couple spent the money on vacations, at a casino and on living expenses.

Wyoming Mulls Tuition Freeze as Completion Tool

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s community colleges are looking at whether tuition policy can be used as a tool to help students finish their degree or certificate.

“They’re sort of looking at a concept of a tuition guarantee for students who exhibit certain behaviors,” said Joe Schaffer, president of Laramie County Community College.

The change would potentially mean that full-time students who started at the college wouldn’t see a tuition increase as long as they stayed full-time students, Schaffer said.

“There’s quite a bit of merit to the concept,” Schaffer told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (http://bit.ly/16SVE4S).

Jim Rose, Wyoming Community College Commission executive director, said the concept is one of several things being looked at to improve student completion rates.

“Frankly, it’s been a significant involvement across the board in terms of faculty involvement and administration (involvement). There’s a broad representation in Complete College Wyoming, and that group has been very focused on doing things to increase students’ success,” Rose said.

The college commission didn’t raise tuition for students next year to give staff members and the colleges time to take a broader look at the tuition policy, he said.

Search Begins for New Tenn. College Prez

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The search has begun for a new president at Chattanooga State Community College.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/16Si8D1) reports an executive search firm hired by the Tennessee Board of Regents moderated a forum to get the process started. Dozens of faculty, staff and students showed up to talk about the qualities they want in their next leader.

The school’s longtime president Jim Catanzaro retired in December in the midst of campus discontent with his leadership.

Those who spoke said it was important to hire a president who would communicate with faculty members and the community and keep things transparent to rebuild trust.

“I want a president that is committed to our mission as a community college, which is teaching general education to students,” said Joel Henderson, head of the college’s English Department.

“I want to actually see my president,” said physics professor Michael Pugh, noting he felt a disconnect from Catanzaro. “The more my president approaches me, the more approachable my president is.”

The search firm is helping a committee made up of Tennessee Board of Regents members, Chattanooga State faculty, students, alumni and community leaders.

FEMA Approves Safe Room for Kansas College

DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — A tornado shelter/student activities center at Dodge City Community College is one step closer to reality.

The college’s foundation announced that the federal government had approved an application for $491,000 to help fund the structure.

College Foundation Director Roger Proffit says the approval means the college can begin construction of the monolithic domed structure.

The Dodge City Daily Globe reports (http://bit.ly/1CcVttZ ) supporters are conducting a fiveyear, $5 million fundraising campaign for the activities center. With the federal grant, current donations and pledges, about $1.5 million is still needed.

Besides providing a community shelter during severe storms, the center will include a walking track and wellness center. It also will have a student activities room and all collegiate basketball and volleyball games will be played there.

Meridian CC Begins Razing Hospital Building

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — The building that once was Matty Hersee Hospital was closed decades ago and has sat dormant since then. It was purchased in 2006 by Meridian Community College.

Now, the junior college is tearing the building down.

MCC president Scott Elliott tells WTOK-TV in Meridian (http://bit.ly/1Ch3CgY) the school is working with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to erect that historical marker following the demolition.

Elliott says the demolition will be done in phases and could take several months before it is complete.

MCC bought the property for nearly $2 million. The charity hospital closed in 1989.

Ariz. Judge To Hear Immigrant Tuition Case

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge will hear arguments in the state’s lawsuit challenging the Maricopa County Community College District’s decision to grant in-state tuition to some immigrants despite a law barring them from getting a lower tuition rate.

Judge Arthur Anderson of Maricopa County Superior Court scheduled a March 6 hearing on dueling motions for a pretrial decision in the case.

Arizona voters in 2006 overwhelmingly approved a law that bars people in the country illegally from getting in-state tuition at Arizona’s public universities and community colleges.

Years later, the college district determined that immigrants covered by a 2012 Obama administration policy are eligible for the cheaper, in-state tuition rate. Then-Attorney General Tom Horne sued in 2012.

College Destroys Contaminated Costumes, Props

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — Devotees of the Ashland Community and Technical College theater are reeling after the school destroyed two decades worth of costumes, furniture and props.

ACTC officials told The Independent (http://bit.ly/1vxHrX0) it was necessary to bulldoze the college-owned house containing the theater materials because everything was contaminated by mold and asbestos.

Despite the loss, ACTC officials say the theater program will continue.

That explanation was no comfort to those who have acted and worked in ACTC productions who say the loss is irreplaceable.

Some involved with the theater program said they were completely blindsided by the decision, only learning of it when they drove by the pile of rubble. They also challenged the school’s conclusions about the danger and difficulty of salvaging the materials.

Ill. Gov. Calls for More Funding for Colleges

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed increasing funding for early childhood education and investing more in community colleges and technical training.

The Republican wants to make the increases top priority despite warning for weeks of painful budget cuts. He said during his State of the State address that Illinois must “avoid slipping further behind other states in the quality of our children’s education.”

But Rauner hasn’t said how he’d pay for the increase or how it might affect other areas of the budget.

The state faces a $5.7 billion budget gap next year after the expiration of Illinois’ temporary income tax increase.

Rauner has invested millions of his own money in education reform efforts. He says he wants to lift the cap on charter schools to offer more choices.

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