Board of Directors May 2020 Meeting Minutes | SCC

Board of Directors May 2020 Meeting Minutes

May 14, 2020

Board Members Present:

  • Ms. Charlene Harris, Chair
  • Phillip Duncan, Vice Chair
  • Ms. Kelly Johnson, Secretary
  • Mr. Jonathan Arnett             
  • Mr. Gary Napier                                           
  • Mr. AJ Tompkins
  • Mr. BJ Brown                                               
  • Mr. Marshall Todd
  • Ms. Marsha Phelps
  • Dr. Allison Cherry

Board Members Absent:

  • None

Call to Order

Chair Harris called the meeting of the Somerset Community College Board of Directors to order at 1:04 p.m. via online Microsoft Office Teams.  She welcomed everyone in attendance.  She asked that everyone please keep their microphones muted until you want to make a comment, approve an action item or ask a question.  Also, when making a motion or seconding a motion, please also state your name so the minutes can be recorded correctly.

Roll Call

Chair Harris called upon Secretary Johnson to take a roll call of members present via online Microsoft Office Teams.  All Board members were present.  


Chair Harris called upon Secretary Johnson to present the minutes from the last meeting.  

MOTION:  Mr. Arnett moved that the Board approve the minutes of the February 6, 2020 meeting. Dr. Cherry seconded the motion.

VOTE:  The motion passed unanimously.

Action Item

Ms. Jill Meece, Chief Business Affairs Officer, presented the FY 2020–2021 Operating Budget Request.  After presentation of the budget request, Ms. Meece requested the Board of Directors approve the request of $59,533,700 for FY 2020-2021, as presented, with the understanding a few minor modifications may be made by KCTCS.

MOTION:  Mr. Napier moved that the Board approve the Budget Request as presented. Dr. Cherry seconded the motion.

VOTE:  The motion passed unanimously.

President's Remarks

Much of Dr. Castle’s report dealt with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the College, it’s faculty, staff and students.  On March 13, SCC moved all of its students and employees to online and working remotely from home.  Student difficulties included technology and internet issues as well as child care issues, to name a couple.  This affected their graduation ceremony, which was moved to September, and the honors night program was moved to a virtual program that was held last Friday.  It is still available on the website.  It has been all about how we can make things as normal as we can, being in an entirely different atmosphere.  The faculty has some of the same issues.  Some had technology issues at home, some had never taught online before, some were dealing with changing their class content from fact to fact to online.  And, of course, there were issues for the staff as well.  Staff were moving from on campus to home and we had to redirect phones and computers to their homes and it was a massive job.  Dr. Castle expressed his pride in the College and the people working at the College and the ability to adapt to something new that he believes the College has shown over the last couple of months.

As the College returns, we are looking a phased approach.  The first thing to take care of are the students who need to complete their Spring semester labs, whether that is a clinical site, a chemistry lab, an automotive or aviation lab, a welding lab, or health sciences labs.  All of them have some hours they need to make up.  The last count Dr. Castle saw was about 150 students with roughly 80 hours for each student to be made up.  We believe we will be able to start as early as Monday, but we don’t know for sure yet.  But the College still won’t be open.  With the Governor’s plan, Dr. Castle believe it will open back up sometime in early June, but that date is not known either.  It will be a gradual return of employees.  In the meantime, needs of all students can still be met through the online environment, via phone or teleconference, etc.  There will be a minimal physical presence on campus until August, when there will be more students and we hope to have a more normal atmosphere again.  So everything will be minimalized.  We haven’t closed, not even for a day.  We’re just handling business in a different manner.   

The legislative budget still impacting the College still includes the original request for a 2% hold on performance-based funding, a $400M request for infrastructure repairs and upkeep, an increase from .33 to .40% increase of our tuition for dual credit and a performance funding pool increase, all of which were targeted to be approved with the new budget.  Once COVID-19 hit, that budget went to a one-year budget.  All the items were after stalled except for the 2% hole on performance-based funding and the tuition increase for dual credit.  The estimated cost of COVID-19 so far, for things we had to do to move remote, provide wifi hot spots for students, etc. is approximately $1.4M.  We have received about $20M from the government for the Cares Act, which SCC’s portion is $3M.  Half of that is dedicated to students.  We have given out approximately $160,000 so far to students who have submitted applications.  Most applications are still in the review process and we expect to run out of the $1.5M fairly quick.  Dr. Castle believes SCC students will be well served and the College is doing the best it can.  The other $1.5M will be used to help the College in the future – upgrade technology, increasing hot spots in our service area, and apply a lot of things we have learned during this environment.

First summer session starts next week and will be all online.  The second session, starting July 1, a couple of face-to-face classes will be added, following social distancing guidelines.  If need be, the face-to-face will go online.  Fall will be regular schedule, including new teaching and delivery modalities for our faculty and working on ways we can prepare students to take online classes, because it was a pretty scary task for students who have never taken an online class before.

Enrollment is down for the summer and, because of the pandemic, we have revised our goal to 1,200.  We are about 180 short of that, but Dr. Castle believes that with the second session, the summer goal will be reached.  The fall goal has been revised as well.  Historically, when there is a high unemployment rate, college enrollment goes up.  What we’re reading is that there is a 50/50 chance of that this year, we will just have to see how this is going to go.  A lot of students will be getting help through federal and state programs, so there may not be incentive to come back to school.  We are watching business and industry in our area and staying focused on where we need to be on recruiting.

In summary, Dr. Castle said he is very, very proud of SCC and the people that make it up and the students that are coming regardless.  All the things they have had to overcome has been tremendous.  SCC has also supported the community with PPE.  Ventilators have been donated to health providers, we have provided miscellaneous equipment and have built and donated more than 7,000 face masks to our service area and all over the state.  It has been a long, but gratifying few months.

Action Item

The SCC Board has responsibility to annually evaluate Dr. Castle as President and CEO of Somerset Community College.  Board members anonymously submitted a completed evaluation form to Chair Harris to compile the data using a weighted average in four categories.  The summarization is required to be presented and discussed in an open meeting.  Chair Harris presented the summarization of the evaluations to the Board.

Upon completion of her summarization, Chair Harris asked for a motion to approve the evaluation as written.  Mr. Arnett made a motion to approve.  Mr. Napier seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.  Chair Harris will forward the evaluation to KCTCS.


The next meeting of the Board will be on July 23, 2020.  There being no further business, Mr. Stapp moved that the meeting adjourn.  The meeting adjourned at 1:41 p.m.

Date Approved by Board of Directors

Charlene Harris, Chair SCC Board of Directors
Signature on file

Kelly Johnson, Secretary SCC Board of Directors
Signature on file