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SIC Board Approves Audit, Tax Levy and Health Insurance

December 5, 2019

The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Tuesday, Dec. 3, in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room to approve the annual audit, tax levy, and health insurance.

Kemper CPA, the College’s external auditing firm, presented their analysis of the college’s finances. The audit was unqualified and demonstrated strong stewardship.

“We are elated that our internal controls and financial processes receive such praise from an outside entity,” said Board Vice-Chair Dr. Frank Barbre.

Aside from a glowing audit report, the board also approved the annual tax levy. Once again, the board only approved a modest increase that will not call for a referendum.

“Even in austere times, we believe that we must be conservative stewards of the taxpayers funds,” said Board Secretary Jim Ellis.

The Board also renewed its health insurance with a contingent motion based on the most affordable stop loss insurance.

“Our new insurance has proven to help maintain quality employee benefits while also containing escalating health care costs,” said Executive Dean of Administrative Services Lisa Hite.

The board heard in the president’s report that while SIC has been named a top tier college in the country by the Aspen Institute, more work to help students succeed is planned for the next 60 months.

“Long-term, strategic fiscal sustainability coupled with collaborative ventures to enhance enrollment as well as guided student pathways, developmental reform, and organizational efficiency are all on our horizon,” said President Dr. Jonah Rice.

SIC was one of the few colleges in the state with an increase in enrollment this year, increasing headcount by 5 percent. The state average was -4.5 percent.

Board members also heard that national experts, including those education officials at Harvard, are predicting a recession for some time in perhaps 2020 and preparing for such.

“Keep in mind, Illinois is still over 30 percent underfunded per pupil in higher education since the last recession,” Rice said. “Colleges all over the country are preparing for continued lean times as we deliver the most affordable, accessible, and quality education around.”

Rice said the one constant in higher education is that of change. “We have to remain nimble, flexible, and ever-changing to the context with which we are given. It’s nothing to fear, but an exciting challenge as we all re-shape higher education in our country.”

Two significant reports have also been submitted to external organizations, Rice noted. Vice-President Dr. Karen Weiss submitted the Illinois Community College Board Recognition Review report. Associate Dean for Student Services Kyla Burford spearheaded the Aspen Prize submission report.

“These two ladies and all the staff who worked with them are to be commended for this extensive work above and beyond the regular call of duty,” said Board Chair Dr. Pat York.

The board also passed multiple minor revisions to policy as well as new coursework in hemp education.

The faculty report and student report highlighted many events that have occurred on campus, including the Christmas musical and first Sunday Afternoon at the Museum artist talks in the Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art.

In personnel, the board approved the hire of part-time student resource assistant Susan Le Buhn and approved a number of adjunct faculty.

The next meeting of the board will be Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room at SIC. More information about SIC can be found at www.sic.edu.

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