SIC Board Approves Retiree Benefits Program, Balanced Budget and Tax Relief

September 24, 2012

The Southeastern Illinois College board took a number of actions at Tuesday night’s board meeting, including a new benefits program for retired employees, a balanced budget, and tax relief.

Dr. Jonah Rice, president of SIC, said his office recognized the need to acknowledge and honor so many retirees who have given so much to the college.

The program includes free admission to college-sponsored events, discounts in the SIC bookstore, tuition benefits, and more.  SIC retirees who have served at least 15 continuous years at SIC and are interested in the program need to contact Barb Potter in the president's office for information.

Board member Richard Morgan said the retiree program is a great step to honor SIC retirees.

"The retiree benefits program is a way to say thanks for years of dedicated service to the people who make SIC the success that it is,” said Morgan.

Among other action items was the passage of the final legal budget for the college.  The budget was in the black again this year.  Reliance on state support is slightly down from last year, about one percent, but much in the budget remains very similar to last year's budget.

Board chair, Dr. Pat York, praised the work by all budget officers at the college for being good stewards during challenging times.

"We're fortunate to have the fiscal standing we have," York said in reference to the news about the college's double A bond rating by Standard and Poor.

Aside from passing a balanced budget, trustees also executed the bond referendum discussed at last board meeting which will result in nearly $175,000 tax savings for district land owners.

Gary Allen made the motion and Frank Barbre seconded it.  The vote was unanimous.

The board also heard an extensive pension report from Dr. Frank Barbre, SIC's representative to the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.  Barbre discussed the possible pension reform and shift to colleges and its potential impact on the budget in the future.

President Rice informed the board that as of the 22nd day of enrollment, the college was up more than 3% in full-time enrollment but down about 1% in credit hours.

"We have more students taking fewer hours," Rice added.  "But we're pretty fortunate when compared to the bigger drops in enrollment in other areas of the state and country."

Other news

In other news, the board learned of a large regional mine rescue team competition that SIC will host in cooperation with Illinois Eastern Community College on Friday, Sept. 21.  Five teams from Illinois and one team from Kentucky will compete in a variety of rescue drills in a highly competitive event that will include firefighting in the burn tunnel, smoke search, hose management, mine rescue, and first aid to name a few.

The board was pleased to hear that a school inspection for the purpose of approval of curriculum to teach basic esthetics, nail tech and respective instructor courses ended in full approval with high marks and great compliments.  The facilities were found to meet all space and equipment requirements and the programs were compared favorably to other schools in the state.

A new eTutoring program has been made possible by the Title III grant, and provides assistance to students in writing, math, accounting, statistics, biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry and more.  The program enables SIC to provide online tutoring services for all students at any time, regardless of whether they take online courses or traditional face-to-face classes.

Personnel and Advisory Boards                                                                                                       

Steve Bonney, a technical engine trainer with Cummins Engines in Indianapolis was approved by the board as a new member to the Diesel Technology Business Advisory Council.

Six new adjunct faculty members were approved for employment.  Roger Snodgrass and Darin DeNeal will teach archery courses. Rebecca Kitchens and Shirley Johnson were approved to be substitute teachers for the Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study.  Dustin Gunning is the new fire science lab assistant, and Hillary Renda will teach beginning ballet.

The next SIC board meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. at Carmi High School.