Will be no immediate changes to tuition

For this year at least, Butler Community College students will not see a dramatic increase in tuition.

The Butler Community College Board of Trustees made that clear to the Butler County Board of Commissioners Wednesday afternoon at the El Dorado Civic Center in a joint meeting.

Raising tuition has been suggested by Rep. Kristey Williams and Butler County Commissioners as a way to offset a suggested reduction from approximately 20 mils for the college annually to about 5 mils - the suggested rate based on the percentage of students from inside Butler County that attend the college.

The tuition for the 2018-19 school year was set in March, the Trustees informed the Commission, so immediate restructuring of their funding formula is not a viable option at this time.

Those rates are set earlier than the budget for students enrolling at BCC in the spring for the following fall.

The two entities are open to discussion to help bring a resolution to the issue.

For years now the Butler County Board of Commissioners has had alternate funding to the local mill levy choices for BCC as a priority issue at the state legislative sessions.

Getting little headway, state and county elected officials have recently taken measures to get the attention of the Butler Community College Board of Trustees to bring the topic of BCC’s local mill levy to the table.

That discussion began Wednesday afternoon before a standing room only crowd in the small meeting room.

The Trustees and Commissioners attended as well as Butler Community College President Kim Krull PhD, Butler County Administrator Will Johnson, Rep. Kristey Williams and State Senator Ty Masterson.

Dr. Krull spoke first, pointing out the value of the college to the local economy, jobs and communities.

She also explained some of the operational budget issues that are overlooked by those who do not work in a day-to-day basis in school operations.

The Commissioners followed saying that the resolution brought before the Board of Commissioners in April does not have power or control over what the Trustees decide but that it was effective in getting BCC to sit down and talk with the Commissioners.

The Commissioners told the Trustees that they are getting complaint after complaint from local property owners about the mil levy rate. They also showed the Trustees an advertisement for housing along the western border of Butler County.

The ad was promoting real estate just inside Sedgwick County with slogans for Andover schools, Sedgwick County taxes.

The Trustees explained to the Commissioners that raising tuition would reduce enrollment and that it was too late to raise tuition for 2018-2019.

Rep. Williams gave a short speech calling for the college to look at restructuring its funding and that instead of $10.1 million in revenue the college says it would lose under the suggested mil levy reduction, the reduction would only be about $3.5 million.

Senator Masterson shared his experience with trying to get community college funding issues resolved at the state level pointing out that counties with community colleges are at a disadvantage politically at the state level because they are outnumbered about 5.5 to 1.

There are more meetings to come. The next is not scheduled yet, but Krull and Johson will stay in contact to establish another meeting date.

For video of the full meeting visit the Butler County Times Gazette Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/AugustaDailyGazette/videos/2156580744358704/