Board Report: Enrollment High & Changes on Horizon

(Bradenton, Fla. May 21, 2008) -In its regular monthly meeting held May 21 at MCC Venice, the Manatee Community College (MCC) District Board of Trustees was informed by President Dr. Sarah H. Pappas that preliminary estimates for Summer A 2008 enrollment indicate  a collegewide 14 percent increase in load hours. With more students and statewide budget cuts, MCC faces unique challenges at a time when the community college system is undergoing an overhaul prompted by new legislation.

"The Florida Community College System as we have known it no longer exists," said Pappas. "Now we are part of the Florida College System."

Pappas explained that as of the just-concluded session of the Florida Legislature, the new Florida College System consists of two- and four-year degree institutions, including eight former community colleges as pilot colleges that currently offer or will offer selected baccalaureate degree programs. MCC is not included among the eight pilot colleges.

Colleges designated as state colleges must maintain the community college system's open-door policy, respond to local community needs, provide outreach to underserved populations and remedial education, and comply with 2+2 articulation agreements. No graduate degrees will be offered and no four-year athletic teams will be allowed.

Pappas also informed the board about a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution to appear on the November ballot that would allow community colleges to seek voter approval in the respective college's service district to use local option sales or ad valorem taxes to supplement funding that currently comes from the state. Participation is voluntary. At its June meeting, MCC trustees will discuss the board's position on supporting, opposing or remaining neutral on the proposed amendment.

Steve Harner, board chair, reported that all nine trustees gave their full approval of Pappas' performance in her last annual evaluation before she retires June 30 after 11 years at MCC. Harner said evaluations reflected trustees' appreciation of Pappas' passion for the college, and her professionalism and commitment.

The board also approved an annual state-required Equity Act Report that showed enrollment at MCC increased in all minority groups and completion rates increased for females, blacks and other minorities earning associate in science degrees. Areas where the college seeks to improve are student completion rates in associate in arts degree programs and Hispanics' completion rates in associate in science degree programs.

In other business, trustees approved a contract with a new custodial services firm, GCA Services, and granted permission to enter into a contract with one of three top-rated companies that submitted bids to provide temporary service workers. Contracting with only one company for temporary services will save the college money, and provide temporary employees with the opportunity to earn paid holiday and vacation time, and health and dental insurance through the contractor.

Board members were informed about a revenue-producing lease agreement for a 140-foot T-Mobile tower that also will serve as a flag pole near the baseball field at MCC Bradenton. Another AT&T pole is already in place near the softball field at MCC Bradenton.

On the southern portion of the MCC Bradenton campus, remodeling is under way for a Music and Theatre Building that is on track to be completed in early August. It will feature a 12-seat black box theatre, a larger rehearsal room, and new dressing rooms, faculty studio offices, practice rooms, classrooms and labs.

MCC trustees were informed that New College officials had expressed interest in an agreement that would allow New College students to participate in MCC's alternative certification program (ACP) for noneducation majors with at least a bachelor's degree. The MCC program offers a quick and affordable way to become certified to teach by the Florida Department of Education.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 25, at 8:30 a.m. at MCC Bradenton.

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