Butler Community College Board of Trustees considers the housing and meal rate plans for the upcoming school year

With the opening of the new calendar year, the Butler Community College Board of Trustees has begun to consider the housing and meal rate plans for the upcoming school year.

“Given the campus-wide initiative to maximize the student retention while minimizing the overall financial burden placed on students, the administration is presently recommending the overall Residence Hall rates for FY15 remain the same as the current year,” explained Trustee Bill Rinkenbaugh. “This option would decrease room rates by an average of 2 percent and pass through an estimated 4 percent increase for the meal plan with the current food service provider of the college, Great Western. The administration believes that we can work toward our objective to help with student costs and retention as well as graduation rates while meeting all budget expectations with this rate structure.”

Rinkenbaugh went on to explain despite the increase in the cost of the meal rate plan, the cost of housing would stabilize the rate for the coming year. The annual charge for West Hall would be $4,550; East and Cummins would be $5,450 and the Butler College Apartments would be $5,750.

Faced with no apparent opposition from the trustees, Rinkenbaugh went on to explain the differences in cost for the average two-year colleges in the immediate area.

“Our rates for the year are very competitive,” explained Rinkenbaugh. “Our current housing options and meal plans come in at a slightly lower cost than Emporia State’s ($6,694) and they are drastically below WSU’s newly built Shocker Residence Hall (10,814). Last year, the combination of our housing and meal plans increased 1.6 percent. This year there will be no increase and I’m sure the students will appreciate that.

Rinkenbaugh then recommended the board approve the planned housing rates for the 2014-2015 school year. The motion was carried 5-0.

The Trustees also learned of the retirement of two long-time employees of Butler Community College. Those retiring were Director of Financial Aid Susie Edwards and Director at Butler of McConnell Air Force Base Rob Kuhns.

“Susie Edwards joined in the Financial Aid Department in 1994,” began Rinkenbaugh. “I remember Jan Greene coming into my office and saying that we have the best financial aid person in the state. She has more financial aid knowledge than I’ll ever know. I actually think the federal government contacts her when they’re coming up with a new policy. She is always on the forefront of all the ever changing financial aid policies. She is always looking for better ways to ensure compliance. Under her jurisdiction, our default rate dropped almost 2 percentage points. She actually shocked the heck out of me when she told me she wanted to have a meeting to tell me that she would be retiring as of April 1. I was dumbfounded. At first, I thought it might be a joke. What this all means for me is she is only a phone call away. We are going to miss her. I hope she doesn’t change her cell phone number because I am positive I will use it. Thank you for 20 awesome years, Susie.”

“I am leaving behind the best staff in the United States of America,” said Edwards. “I have no doubt they’ll do a wonderful job.”

Butler Community College President Kim Kunkel moved to approve Edwards’s retirement and the motion was carried 5-0.

“Rob Kuhns, the director at Butler McConnell Air Force Base, has worked with Butler for 14 years,” began Karla Fisher, vice president of academics. “He has helped the college to form wonderful relationships with the base. He has been a shining light in that area and we’ll be looking for someone just like him to replace him.”

Trustee Jim Wilson moved to approve Kuhns’s retirement and the motion was carried 5-0.

The trustees also:

• approved the revised policy defining full-time employees.

• approved the Key Performance Indicators report.

• approved the Kansas Board of Regents Calender Year 2013 Final Report.

• approved the First Amendment Activities Policy.

• approved the 2014-2015 High School Articulation Agreements for Career Pathways.

Kari Adams can be reached at kadams@butlercountytimesgazette.com.