Published on 12/11/2018.
Meeting of the Audit Committee of the Board
The Audit Committee (Trustees Emad, Mathews and Mullery) discussed two important financial related topics that will influence our strategic short and long-term fiscal decision making. Julia Morrison and I had a candid and constructive conversation with the Trustees about the condition of the Other Postemployment Benefit (OPEB) fund and the latest draft of our long-term budget forecast.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority of CR employees are not familiar with the OPEB fund. It’s not something we talk about very often. It’s important to acknowledge that thanks the leadership of our Board of Trustees, CR was one of the first California community colleges to establish an OPEB long-term trust pension fund to provide benefits to our past and future retired employees in the late 1990s.
The OPEB spreadsheet Julia provided to the Audit Committee showed that the OPEB had a $3,225,856 ending fund balance in 2002. However, the fund’s ending balance has been steadily decreasing since that time. We posited that the decrease was triggerd by four factors:
- The increase in health and benefits expenses costs.
- The reduction in our general fund contribution to the OPEB fund when the District faced fiscal difficulty.
- The nominal level of interest accrued on the funds.
- The number of eligible employees decreased.
The OPEB data we discussed clearly indicated that, unless we increase our contribution to the fund, the OPEB fund will have a negative fund balance by the end of 2019. The Audit Committee asked me to perform a more in-depth actuarial study that will add specificity to our long-term OPEB liability and the possible impact on our strategic budget forecast.
FY2018-2022 Long-Term Budget Forecast
Julia and I made a commitment to the Audit Committee to update our long-term budget forecast as additional information was made available and to openly and transparently share the revised forecast on a regular basis with college community. Consistent with that commitment, we discussed four revised budget forecast scenarios in open session with the members of the Audit Committee.
I maintain that having open and honest conversations about long-term budget forecasts is a sign of a healthy institution. While the long-term forecast is a fiscal projection of what may happen based on historical trends and several budget assumptions and variables, forecasts will help us assess current and future fiscal conditions and identify future revenue and expenditure trends that could influence on our strategic fiscal goals and decision-making.
Julia and I considered three things when we prepared the draft revised budget forecast:
- Develop more than one forecast: one that reflects an optimistic outlook, one pessimistic and one or two that may be most likely. This will allow us to plan for growth but also adjust in case some financial opportunities don’t materialize or occur slower than we thought.
- Update our forecasts on a regular basis. I know that the further out we forecast, the greater the possibility for error, because the passage of time will inevitably introduce new variables and validate (or not) our previous assumptions. However, it’s important that we are not caught unprepared.
- Involve all constituent groups and the Board in the long-term budget forecast process.
If you remember, the three year budget forecast (2018-19 through 2020-2021) we included in the 2018-19 Final Budget in September 2018 was based on past, current and projected financial conditions known at that time. We did not include the possible impact of the phased student centered funding formula (SCFF), actual or anticipated resignations and retirements, possible savings from switching medical, dental, and vision providers, or possible growth in our student success performance indicators.
Over the past few months, Julia spent considerable time reexamining the fundamental factors and assumptions that would influence our long-term budget forecast. For the conversation with the Audit Committee we:
- Updated SCFF simulation with the 2019-20 and 2020-21 base, supplemental, and student success rates;
- Refined the 2019-20 and 2020-21 position inventory to reflect known and anticipated position changes, resignations, and retirements;
- Included a potential medical savings starting in 2019-20 if we switched medical providers;
- Built-in an anticipated STRS and PERS benefit expenses rate increase;
- Incorporated an increase in the 2018-19 Final Budget beginning fund balance based on un-audited 2017-18 actual ending fund balance;
- Increased “Other Operating Expenses” line item by $82,000 to address a possible US Department of Education Title IV and Clery act violation fine for work not completed in 2013;
- Increased the “Transfer Out” line item by $90,000 to augment our general fund contribution to the OPEB fund; and
- Included regular employee salary step increases.
You will see, if you look at the budget forecast documents I attached to this article, that we discussed four possible scenarios covering 2017-18 through 2021-22. It is important to note that Julia and I did not include any employee salary increases in the scenarios beyond the normal steps since wage and working conditions are negotiable items.
Here’s a brief overview of each scenario:
- Scenario 1: Assumed no COLA in years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22. This scenario showed a -1.6 ending fund balance in 2021-2022.
- Scenario 2: Assumed a 2.57% COLA in 2019-20 and a 2.67% COLA in 2020-21. This scenario was little more optimistic and showed a 9.8% ending fund balance in 2021-2022.
- Scenario 3: Assumed no COLA in years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 and an increase in student success performance indicators to align with the Vision for Success. We also assumed a 3% growth increase in Adult Education, Special Admit, and CDCP FTES enrollments and in the student success performance indicators for 2020-21 in recognition of the work our faculty and staff have done to improve student success. This scenario showed a 1.4% ending fund balance in 2021-2022.
- Scenario 4: Assumed a 2.57% COLA in 2019-20 and a 2.67% COLA in 2020-21, an increase in student success performance indicators to align with the Vision for Success, and a 3% growth increase in Adult Education, Special Admit, and CDCP FTES enrollments and in the student success performance indicators for 2020-21. We ended up with a 15.2% ending fund balance in 2021-2022 in this scenario.
The draft budget scenarios we presented are not static—they will change as our revenue and expenditure variables change. As I wrote in my September budget message, we can influence our forecast by increasing revenue and focusing on the student metrics and performance indicators identified in the funding formula. We can also reduce expenditures by decreasing operational and personnel costs, continuing to look for ways to increase the efficiency of our class schedule offerings, making the necessary adjustments to academic and non-academic areas that are considered inefficient, and by continuing to make the most of every position vacancy, including those that will occur through transfers, resignations, and retirements.
My intention moving forward is to bring an updated 2018-19 Adjusted Budget along with a revised long-term budget forecast to the Trustees for discussion at their February Board meeting. The information we provide at the February Board meeting will strengthen our ACCJC March 1 Follow-Up report.
Julia and I will discuss the updated budget information with the CRFO, Management Council, and Classified Union leadership before any information before the February Board meeting. We’ll also hold budget forums in February or March.
Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees
Member Comments: Trustee Biggin provided a written summary of the CCLC Annual Convention she attended. Her summary discussed several topics relevant to CR: Alignment of local goals with CCCO’s Vision for Success; Affordability, Food & Housing Access; equity outcomes and conversations about race; the Student Centered Funding Formula; best practices and statewide initiatives that advance faculty diversity; and efforts of various community colleges to serve the needs of incarcerated students. I attached her report to this article.
Trustee Dorn mentioned that he participated in the ACCJC webinar and met with Assembly member Wood.
Trustee Mathews stated that she attended the College’s Holiday Party and Professor Ruth Rhodes’ book release.
Board Committee Reports: Trustee Emad commented on the meeting of the Audit Committee that convened immediately prior to the regular meeting of the Board.
Administer Oath of Office To Trustee Carol Mathews: Trustee Carol Mathews was sworn in for her second term of office by Trustee Bruce Emad.
Revise Established Board Meeting Dates, Times, Locations for 2019: I asked the Board to reschedule their September 3, 2019 and October 1, 2019 Board meetings. The Trustees agreed to move the September 3 meeting to September 10 and the October 1 meeting to October 8.
The October meeting will be held on the Eureka Campus and the Board will meet on the Klamath Trinity site in November. We will update the Board’s calendar on the website to reflect the revisions.
Approve Board Travel to CCLC Annual Legislative Conference: The Board approved my recommendation for Trustees to attend the CCLC Annual Legislative Conference Workshop from January 27-28, 2019 in Sacramento. Trustees Emad and Kelley will attend the conference with me.
Election of Officers: President, Vice President, and Clerk: The Board elected Trustee Mr. Bruce Emad as President of the Board, Trustee Dr. Colleen Mullery as Vice President of the Board, and Trustee Mr. Danny Kelley as Clerk for the 2019-20 year. They will be begin their service as officers of the Board at the January meeting.
Review Code of Ethics and Trustee Protocols - BP/AP 2715: The Trustees reviewed their Code of Ethics and Protocols for Effective Trusteeship.
Consent Calendar Action Items
Approve/Ratify Personnel Actions: With the Board’s action, we welcome Graciela Ventura Haas, Stacy Brown, Richard Hardwick, and Ashley Knowlton to our college community. Graciela Ventura Haas will serve as the Student Services Specialist II (.125 FTE) at our Klamath-Trinity Site and Stacy Brown as the Administrative Office Assistant II (.62 FTE) for DSPS.
Richard Hardwick will begin service as our new Principal Accountant on January 8, 2019. Richard’s long awaited appointment will help us meet Dr. Harrison's recommendation to “ensure that there are adequate personnel to perform the assigned duties” in the Business Office. It will also strengthen our accreditation compliance recommendation response in the ACCJC March 1, 2019 Follow-Up Report.
The Board approved the appointment of Ashley Knowlton as Assistant Professor, English in the Pelican Bay State Prison. Ashley’s position as a fulltime faculty member in Pelican Bay represents an important milestone in our effort to bring education to the incarcerated student population and ultimately reduce recidivism.
As an institution, we value providing our employees with advancement opportunities. I am pleased to recognize our own Amy Murphy’s appointment as a one-semester replacement CIS faculty member.
The Board ratified one resignation and two faculty retirements. Julia Peterson resigned her position as the Director of Facilities Administration effective December 3, 2018. Julia’s hard work and dedication were important to the District.
Steve Brown, Professor of Drafting, and Mike Richards, Professor of Automotive Technology, will retirement as of June 30, 2019. I want to thank Steve and Mike, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, for their many contributions to the District. I wish them happiness in the future.
Jennifer Lee’s ECE 1 position was changed to ECE Assistant II and Sarah Ferretti’s Administrative Office Assistant II (Upward Bound) was changed to Student Services Specialist I (Workforce and Community Education). Congratulations to Jennifer and Sarah.
Approve Academic Calendar: The Board approved the negotiated 2019-20 Academic Calendar. Although the Chancellor’s Office approved Cesare Chavez Day as a holiday to include in an academic calendar we are going to recognize Cesare Chavez through Multicultural and Diversity Center events and not include it in the academic calendar.
Authority to accept lowest UIR Bidder: Our UIR project is a State funded capital project that requires both local and State Department of Finance approval. To expeditiously move the bid through the Department of Finance approval process I asked for authorization from the Trustees to accept the lowest bidder—subject to State approval. The “subject to State approval" language holds the District harmless if the State refuses funding.
The bid opening is scheduled for December 20, 2018. The “accepted” bidder will be forwarded to the Department of Finance shortly thereafter.
First Read of Board Policies and Administrative Procedures. The Board conducted a first read of two BPs and two APs related to the appointment of Trustees to Board committees and the Board officer selection process.
Interim AP 2305 Annual Organizational Meeting and Interim BP 2305 Annual Organizational Meeting allows a newly elected President of the Board, rather than the outgoing President, to appoint membership to standing and ad hoc committees of the Board. BP 2210 Officers addresses how Board officers are selected and when the gavel is passed from the outgoing President of the Board to the newly elected President.
The Board suggested several changes to the policies and administrative procedures. The revised documents will be brought back to the Board as a second read in January.
Second Read of Board Policy 1200: The Board approved the revised BP 1200. The BP will now go to College Council for constituent review.
Sabbatical Recommendation: The Board approved the fall 2019 sabbatical leave proposal for Professor Mark Renner. Professor Renner’s sabbatical will focus on geologic field research & videography and digital media production & post-production to generate 25 (or more) instructional video clips for usage in GEOL-1, GEOL-2 and GEOL-10 classes. Congratulations Mark!
Monthly Financial Status Report: The monthly financial status report covered the period of July 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018. There were no budget adjustments since the approval of the Final Budget noted in this report. The revenue was up slightly from the prior year, fall non-resident tuition was down slightly compared to this time last year, and the projected 2018-19 ending fund balance remained at 6.3%.
We still plan to “transfer out” the following:
- $90,000 Child Development Center
- $95,762 Shively Farm
- $250,000 OPEB fund
- $435,762 Total
Local Goals Alignment: Paul Chown did an excellent job leading a discussion on the Chancellor’s goals alignment initiative and the draft revised Institutional Scorecard.
As background, the legislation that established the new funding formula for community colleges require that we adopt numerically measurable performance goals that are aligned with the system wide goals in the Vision for Success, align our comprehensive plan to our local goals, and align our budgets with our comprehensive plans. To those ends, our Board of Trustees must:
- Adopt the goals at a board meeting,
- Include in that meeting’s agenda an explanation of how the goals are consistent and aligned with the system wide goals, and
- Provide the written agenda item and summary of action to the Chancellor’s Office.
There are two firm deadlines associated with the local goal-setting process:
- By December 15, 2018, we must certify to the Chancellor’s Office that a process is underway to set measurable, aligned goals. I submitted our online certification on December 6.
- By May 31, 2019, our Board of Trustees must adopt goals and submit them to the Chancellor’s Office.
We will engage our Trustees, local community, student groups, constituent groups, and our consultative bodies in the entire goal-setting process to ensure that the goals being set are appropriate and in line with District needs and priorities.
There are five overarching system wide goals of the Vision for Success:
- Completion—Increase the number of CCC students annually who acquire associate degrees, credentials, certificates, or specific job skill sets that prepare them for in-demand jobs by 2021-22 by at least 20 percent.
- Transfer—Increase the number of CCC students transferring annually to a UC or CSU by 2021-22 by 35 percent.
- Unit Accumulation—Decrease the number of units accumulated by CCC students earning associate degrees, from an average of approximately 87 total units to an average of 79 total units by 2021-22.
- Workforce—Increase the percent of exiting CTE students who report being employed in their field of study, from the most recent statewide average of 69% to 76% by 2021-22.
- Equity—Reduce equity gaps across all of the above measures through faster improvements among traditionally underrepresented student groups, with the goal of cutting achievement gaps by 40 percent by 2021-22 and fully closing those achievement gaps for good by 2026-27.
The IEC supported the following process timeline:
- December 2018: Certify that a process is underway to set measurable, aligned goals.
- December 2018 and January 2019: Align our institutional goals and budget with the Vision for Success goals.
- February 1-28, 2019: Discuss institutional goals on the Eureka, Del Norte and KT campuses/sites for local community members, faculty/staff and students.
- March 1-30, 2019: Discuss the goals with the IEC, Expanded Cabinet, Enrollment Management Committee, ASCR, the Academic Senate and IE Summit participants.
- April 2, 2019: Conduct a first read of the aligned goals at the Board of Trustees meeting.
- May 7, 2019: Approve the aligned goals at the Board of Trustees meeting.
Once the aligned goals are finalized in collaboration with the Board, we must include the goals in a written board meeting agenda and formally adopt them at the May 7, 2019 Board meeting. The written agenda item will include an explanation of how the goals are consistent and aligned with the system wide goals articulated in the Vision for Success.
The Trustees were very engaged in this discussion. Trustee comments focused on linking our enrollment goals/targets to the college’s long-term budget, connecting new academic program development to the aligned goals, and ensuring that the local community is involved in the discussion.
Angelina Hill, Paul Chown, and I are going to attend a Chancellor’s Office Goals Alignment workshop on February 11. We hope to get more clarity on the Chancellor’s expectations at that time.
Accreditation Update: Angelina discussed our ACCJC Recommendation Tracking spreadsheet with the Trustees (which I attached to this article). The tracking spreadsheet has proven to be a useful tool to help us document, organize, and share information relative to our ACCJC recommendations. Angelina also mentioned that the ACCJC will no longer require community colleges to report on the percentage of course containing student learning outcomes.
The Commission wants community colleges to focus on the quality of our assessments and how we’re affecting student learning. Thank you Angelina for keeping us moving forward!
Sabbatical Leave Presentation: Professor Michelle Haggerty was granted a sabbatical leave to enhance her education related to the discipline of Neuropsychology, Evolutionary Psychology, and the technology used to deliver and analyze research. Professor Haggerty thanked the Board for their approval of her leave and said that her sabbatical was a wonderful experience that allowed her to intensely focus on Psychology content to enhance all classes taught and prepare to teach new courses, specifically Psych 20 and Psych 2L.
Student Success Metrics: Adult Education: Angelina discussed two of the Chancellor’s Office student success metrics—education level and non-credit workforce milestone completions. Angelina informed the Board that the proportion of students who transitioned from adult to secondary education rose in recent years and that we have a much higher proportion of students transitioning to college education than compared statewide.
Follow-Up on the College's Art Collection: Professor Shannon Sullivan and Curator Ruth Jensen discussed the status of our art collection and the logistics of adding security hardware to the artworks. I committed to looking at ways to safeguard the security of our art collection.
Organizational Report: Academic Senate: Academic Senate Co-President Dr. Peter Blakemore reminded the Trustees that faculty are committed to the long-term health of the college and to fostering an institutional environment that values academic freedom and the free expression of all ideas. He mentioned that the Accreditation Oversight Committee will be reconstituted.
Peter also recognized that one of his students, Academy of the Redwoods student Rami Awwad, was accepted to Stanford University. Here’s link to a December 12 Redheaded Blackbelt story about Rami http://kymkemp.com/2018/12/12/sixteen-and-stanford-bound/
Organizational Report: CRFO: CRFO President Michelle Haggerty commented that negotiations are going well and discussions are collegial. She also mentioned the recent FACCC publication “Why Faculty Matter”. Michelle was kind enough provide me a hard copy of the publication last week. I found all of the articles relevant to our institution. You can find an electronic copy of the publication at: www.FACCC.org.
Organizational Report: Management Council: Council President Brady Reed recognized Wendy Bates for her openness and clarity in discussions relative to a potential switch in medical providers.
Organizational Report: Student Trustee: Student Trustee Florentina Phillips mentioned that college should do more to help faculty and staff recognize and address implicit bias. She also noted the great work CR is doing to support student success including: incorporating the new salad bar in the cafeteria, developing food pantries at our Del Norte and KT locations, hiring a new Shively Farm manager, assessing the bookstore function, and supporting the Multicultural and Diversity Center. I attached a copy of her report to this summary.
Administrative Report: President/Superintendent Report: My written report included a summary of the October 19, 2018 and November 30, 2018 meetings with several key private and public community stakeholders convened to discuss potential re-purposing ideas for the Physical Science and Life Science buildings on the Eureka campus. Several very interesting potential public/private partnerships (P3s) ideas surfaced including creating a conference center with lodging, cultural arts space, live-work art work space, small business incubator, employment training, affordable housing, multi-use space, corporate offsite office space, and local government offices.
Following the November 30 meeting, I committed to explore ways to fund a person/group to help us determine the feasibility of the ideas generated from the two meetings.
My written report also summarized a few 2018 chaptered bills that was introduced in the Legislature for consideration. I included the Chancellor’s Legislative Update in its entirety as an attachment to this Board meeting summary.
Administrative Report: Vice President of Instruction Report: Angelina’s report highlighted the recently released set of Chancellor’s Office Student Success Metrics and how we’re satisfying those metrics. She noted that faculty and staff are working hard to improve CR's Student Success Metrics. Recent progress included:
- Reforming the English and Math remedial sequences and placement process per AB 705
- Re-evaluating local curriculum policies to eliminate barriers to students earning a degree
- Developing a Certificate of Achievement for students who have completed their CSU General Education requirements
- Establishing policy that will provide Veteran students credit for passing the CLEP exam
- Increasing non-instructional days between the start of fall and start of summer to allow for more Pell Awards to be processed
Angelina also wrote about the work of the Academic Program Evaluation Task Force. She noted that, after much discussion, the task force recommended the following data-driven language be added to AP 4021 in terms how programs are identified to enter into the process:
Step One: Program Evaluation Request
In September of each year, the Office of Institutional Research will provide the following set of indicators to the PVC for each discipline:
1. FTES 5-year trend (year-over-year change average)
3. Persistence: Fall to Spring
4. # completers (ADT, Degree, Certificate)
5. # transfers to 4-year
For each indicator, the discipline will receive a ranking that is equal to the number of disciplines with the same or higher ranking. Rankings will be determined as follows.
1. Top ranking goes to discipline with largest positive average year-over-year change
2. Top ranking goes to discipline with the largest ratio
3. Top ranking goes to the discipline with the largest percentage of students persisting
4. Top ranking goes to the discipline with the most completers
5. Top ranking goes to the discipline with the most transfers
By the end of October, the PVC will identify disciplines to go through the 4021 process by adding the rankings of each indicator together for each discipline (the SUM). These disciplines identified for the 4021 that academic year will be the two transfer-oriented disciplines and the two career education disciplines with the highest SUM.
In addition to the above process, evaluation of a program for possible revitalization, suspension, or discontinuance can be initiated by the administration, faculty, the Program Review Committee, or the Academic Senate. The Program Evaluation Request (Appendix A) is submitted to the appropriate Dean/Director and shall be forwarded to the CIO. The decision to move the request forward to the President/Superintendent is made jointly by the CIO and the Academic Senate Co-Presidents.
Administrative Report: Vice President of Administrative Services Report: Julia reported that our Full-Time Faculty Obligation Fall 2018 Compliance Report was submitted to the Chancellor's Office on November 28. Here’s a summary of the FON report:
- The District’s fall 2018 full-time equivalent faculty (FTEF) number is 77.5
- Our Full-Time Faculty Obligation number (FON) requirement, as set by the Chancellor's Office, is 55.2.
- We are exceeding our full time faculty obligation by 22.3.
- The fall of 2017 FTEF was 80.2 and the FON was 67.2, resulting in an excess of 13 FTEF over the obligation.
- Our FON report also included the percentage of total full-time and part-time FTEF attributable to full-time faculty. In the 2018 report, we reported 55.5% compared to 51% in fall 2017. The statewide average was 56.7% in 2017. So, we’re getting closer to the statewide average.
I included our fall 2018 Compliance Report in this article for your information.
Administrative Report: Vice President of Student Development Report: Joe’s written report spoke to the work we’re doing to improve student access to mental health counseling, create food pantries at our Del Norte and KT campuses, and raise funds for our CR homeless student initiative.
We’re going to use a $35,740 award from the Chancellor’s Office to expand the mental health services provided at the Eureka Campus Student Health Center and in the residence halls. The funds will also be used to provide associate faculty counselor support for the cohort receiving the Redwoods Room and Board Scholarship.
The Chancellor's Office also awarded us $34,846 to address student food insecurity issues. We’re going to use this one-time funding to get Food Pantries started at the Del Norte and Klamath-Trinity campuses. I want to echo Joe’s thanks to Melissa Ruiz, Rory Johnson and Kintay Johnson for their work on these projects.
We were notified on November 30 that St. Joseph Health awarded us a 'Care for the Poor Community Grant' in the amount of $10,000 for the Redwoods Room and Board Scholarship. We are very grateful for the work Lynette Mullen, Kintay Johnson, and Justin Fishman put into our homeless student initiative. I also want to thank Tammy Phrakonham, former CR and current HSU student, for the time, energy and guidance she gave to this project. Tammy's story was the inspiration behind the scholarship.
Joe asked Marty Coelho to update the Trustees on our homeless student initiative fundraising efforts. Marty noted that the community is responding to our call for help to address student homelessness and food insecurity.
Administrative Report: Director of Human Resources: Wendy’s report touched on the work we’re doing relative to the potential change in benefit providers. Wendy also noted the important work she and the Professional Development Committee is doing for the Thursday, January 17, 2019 and Friday, January 18, 2019 FLEX trainings. The trainings will include: Guided Pathways/AB705, Assessment, Distance Education Pedagogy, Teaching at Pelican Bay, Classroom Pedagogy and more.
She also mentioned that Los Rios Community College invited 4-6 of College of the Redwoods IBA Training Team to attend a 3-day Interest Based Approach Workshop in March, 2019. The 3-days of training will focus on important elements of the interest based approach.
Approve a Trustee Request to Place an item on a Future Agenda.
The Board want to agendize discussions on Board advocacy, the College Promise program, and our Pelican Bay Prison education initiative. Additionally, they directed me to research whether Trustee election cycles can be revised and whether we can redistrict Trustee areas in 2019.
The Board agreed to my request to revise one of my President's 2018-19 Goals. The fourth bullet of Goal 6 will now read "Present a plan to the Board on the use of the vacant buildings on the Eureka Campus by June 30, 2019.”