The South Plains College Board of Regents met in a regular meeting on Thursday.
The Regents heard a report from the Vice President of Student Affairs. The college is changing the parking citation fee to $10 from $5. It was noted that if their is someone illegally parked in Handicap parking, a city citation will be issued and it will have to be paid through the Levelland Municipal Court and will cost at least $300. They also received a report on occupancy of the college residence halls for the Fall 2018. Currently they are at 92% occupancy with only 53 beds and majority of those are in the men’s residence halls. It was discussed that the vacancies are in the older residence halls that have community showers. Administration noted that they will be looking at a plan for remodeling or building new residence halls as well as evaluating the food services, noting that two new dorms have been built and no additional space was added for food services. Regent Richard Ellis asked about the possibility of forming a sub-committee to evaluate campus needs as a whole. It was also noted that the college is losing housing numbers due to the aging residence halls, and they do not meet the “expectations of the students” said Dr. Stan DeMerritt, VP for Student Affairs. Regents also received a policy to review for Student Misconduct and the Employee Sexual Harassment policy. The policy must be approved by the Board of Regents of every college in the State. The policy will be part of the colleges Title IX regulations and will be overseen and enforced by the Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Stan DeMerritt.
Regents also received a report of new hires for the Fall 2018 semester. They also received a report from the Law Enforcement Academy Graduation, it was noted that 100% of the graduates passed the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Exam for 21 classes in a row.
Regents also received the monthly financial report. The college as a net position of $12.1 million and currently has collected 98% of the current property taxes.
Regents also received a report on the accreditation of the college. The college takes their accreditation very seriously. The last on site visit and accreditation was 2013 and the college was accredited in 2014 for 10 years. The college is required to submit a 5 year report next year. This report details if the college is meeting goals and objectives and how they will prepare to meet the 21 items required by the accrediting team every 10 years. The fifth year report will address, Administration, faculty, transparency and Institutional representations, educating students and facilities. The college will go through full accreditation in 2024.
Regents also discussed and set a proposed tax rate for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Property values for the SPC taxing district was up 6.02%. The tax rate to generate the same amount of revenue as last year is .37 cents per $100 property value. The current tax rate is 39.5 cents per $100 property value. The college lost over 50% of taxable revenue two years ago and at the same time, the state cut revenue dramatically. It was pointed out that two items need addressed that were not in the budget, including campus safety including replacing door locks where they can be locked down from the inside in case of emergency. They also need to replace buses for athletic teams and student teams as the current buses are over 15 years old and are beginning to have mechanical issues and have stranded teams on the side of the road in the past. It was noted “we don’t want a SPC bus broke down on the side of the road, it is a safety issue” said President Dr. Robin Satterwhite. It was noted that the college revenue per student is approximately $1082 each while Odessa College is around $5,000 each student. It was noted that cap on the tax rate is 40 cents per $100 property value. President Dr. Robin Satterwhite noted that the college is working to maximize the tuition dollars from external campuses and the decision was made months ago to increase tuition and fees on the external campuses and not increase Levelland tuition. It was noted that the college is still working to regain the 3.2 million decrease in revenue two years go due to major funding cuts from the state and low property values. College administration recommended maintaining the current property tax rate of 39.6 cents per $100 property value. Ronnie Alexander made the motion to propose setting the tax rate at .395731 which is the current rate, it was seconded by Pete Pettiet and it was approved on a unanimous vote.
The college will host a public hearing on the tax rate on Monday, August 20th at 5:00 pm and again on Thursday, August 23rd at 8:00 am. They will host a special meeting to hold a public hearing on the budget and tax rate and approve both on Monday, August 27th at 4:00 pm.
Regents also learned that The Culinary Arts center on the Lubbock campus is complete and classes will start this fall.