NCMC Board of Trustees approve renewal of health insurance, presented report from Faculty Senate Negotiations Committee

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The North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees heard a report from the Faculty Senate Negotiations Committee on April 27th.

History and Spanish Faculty Member Maryellen Harman and Psychology Faculty Member Lindsay Oram presented a proposal for a faculty salary schedule for 2021-2022. The proposal includes adding $1,000 to the salary base and continuing to have 100% college-paid health insurance. Adding $1,000 to the base would make the base salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree $32,187, a master’s degree $35,957, and a doctorate $39,727. The proposal targets non-nursing faculty.

Harman and Oram noted that the NCMC base salary at a bachelor’s level was $1,113 under that of Trenton R-9’s base at bachelor’s as of the latter part of last year before the school district made changes. The master’s level was $443 less than that of Trenton R-9. NCMC base pay at bachelor’s is below the mean of school districts in Missouri by more than $1,000.

NCMC bachelor’s base pay is also more than $1,000 less than that of Ozark Technical College, which Harman and Oram called a “comparable institution.” NCMC classifies faculty members as unranked. In comparison to the average salaries of unranked professors in Missouri, the NCMC average salary is more than $7,100 less. It was noted the NCMC average salary was likely calculated with the nursing faculty salaries factored in, which likely inflated the average.

The nursing faculty salary schedule has a base salary for a bachelor’s degree at $43,864, bachelor’s degree plus 15 at $44,884, master’s degree at $47,945, master’s degree plus 15 at $48,965, and doctorate at $51,005.

Harman and Oram also mentioned that the 2020 cost of living adjustment was one point three percent. They said that the NCMC bachelor’s base salary would need to increase by $405.43 to cover the cost of living expenses. The master’s base salary would need to increase by at least $454.44.

In the last five years, NCMC faculty have not received a base pay increase and/or have not stepped down on the salary schedule twice. The master’s base has had a five-year change of just over four percent.

Another negotiation request is an increase in the adjunct/overload pay. The current rate is $550 per credit hour. Oram and Harman said faculty requested but did not achieve, an increase of $25 per credit hour last year.

NCMC President Doctor Lenny Klaver said the Faculty Senate Negotiations Committee made a convincing argument.

Vice President of Business and Finance Tyson Otto said the committee did a good job of creating a plan. He believes the college needs to find a benchmark to try to keep up with.

Harman noted the committee is working on a five-year plan.

Personnel and salaries are to be discussed next month.

Klaver reported on state legislative matters. He said Senate Bill 390 is being attached to Senate Bill 152. That involves putting Buchanan County in NCMC’s service region. He does not know where the bill will go. He said it looks like the bill will pass some days, and other days, it looks like the bill will fail.

The House added $7 million to the Senate’s $3 million to raise the requested core funding for the Missouri Community College Association to $10 million. Klaver is unsure if that will stand, but he said is likely there will be a core increase of some type.

The House is said to be setting aside $18 million to be equally divided among state colleges for capital improvements in the form of deferred maintenance and remodeling projects. Klaver said “very preliminary” possibilities for how that money could be used at NCMC include fixing or repairing the bus barn and HVAC for the Ketcham Community Center. Other possibilities include work at Ellsworth and Selby halls and an addition to the Ag Mechanics Building at the Barton Farm Campus.

A Governor’s Emergency Education Response Excel funding announcement is to be made on May 11th. The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development suggests hiring grant writers due to a large number of grant opportunities in the federal budget. Klaver noted a good number of those opportunities will fall to states for funding through governor’s offices.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development is waiting on the release of Community Development Block Grant federal funds. Klaver said CDBG funds for NCMC would be used for the first part of the renovation at the Savannah Center.

NCMC is working with Rich Gross Solutions regarding a feasibility study in preparation for the college’s 100-year celebration in 2025. Summits are to be held in Trenton and Savannah for a preliminary case for support for the Transforming Lives, Empowering People campaign. Scheduling is in the progress of confidential interviews to be conducted starting in May.

Klaver reported NCMC has had about 115 more applications for enrollment for the fall this year as compared to the same time last year.

Director of Marketing and Admissions Megan Pester reported the college’s conversion rate is 60%. She explained that means 60% of students who visit campus enroll.

Six international students are graduating.

Marketing and Admissions are working with the Information Technology Department to update the website.

Pester is working to streamline things. She wants to focus on communication and brand awareness.

Vice President of Student Affairs Doctor Kristen Alley reported June orientation is full, and housing applications are up. She said a financial aid audit will determine recommendations for NCMC. Recommendations could be as small as capitalizing the first letter of a word on the website.

A COVID-19 vaccine clinic was held on the main campus. Seventeen individuals received a vaccine.

Alley also provided information to the board about the commencement ceremonies on May 8th. One ceremony will be at 9 o’clock that morning, and the nursing commencement and pinning will be at 1 o’clock that afternoon. The ceremonies will be in the Jeanette Hoffman Robison Auditorium of the Ketcham Community Center.

A pancake breakfast will be held at the Ketcham Center on May 7th from 8 o’clock to 9:15 in the morning. A rehearsal will begin at 9:30.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Doctor Tristan Londre reported the last day of spring classes is April 30th. Final exams will start next week.

Summer intersession and summer semester will be mainly online like last year, but NCMC will run on-ground classes in Brookfield, Cameron, and Andrew County.

Londre reported seven employees attended the Higher Learning Commission virtual conference this month. He said it is a great way to learn about accreditation requirements and see innovative things other colleges are doing.

Londre also went over possible outcomes from the Higher Learning Commission’s comprehensive evaluation visit planned for this fall. They include likely receiving recommendations from the visiting team, which are suggestions for improvement and not requirements.

Associate Director Admissions Erin Gardner reported on the North Belt Center of Country Club. She says the site has partnered with several entities to get out word of the center’s location. The center is also working with the Savannah community.

Chief Information Officer Jennifer Triplett gave an information technology update. She reported remaining new network switches were installed in April for the college’s infrastructure refresh projects.

IT Services’ focus for May will include refining data center configurations and advancing video surveillance camera installations. Other focuses will include planning the installation of remaining wireless access points and continuing to improve network configurations.

Green Hills Head Start Director Sue Ewigman reported on a self-assessment. The review is conducted once a year.

She noted strengths included how quickly staff responded to the pandemic to keep the Head Start program going. Ewigman also thanked parents for not coming into the centers. The centers were able to stay open, and only one had to close for a while due to COVID-19.

Ewigman also reported COVID-19 funding is available to Head Start. Some of that funding is from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which Green Hills Head Start submitted an application for. Head Start Director Janet Gott noted the organization plans to use CRRSA Act funds for summer school. Ewigman said other funding is through the American Rescue Plan, and $1,100 per child may be available.

Gott reported she hopes to get back to more of a normal year in the fall, which will include allowing parents back into centers, a family day, and tooth brushing for center-based students.

Gott said Head Start has brainstormed ways to raise recruitment numbers. The organization has partnered with Life Options Green Hills for a diaper drive this week.

A ribbon-cutting will be at the new Head Start Center in Trenton on May 18th at 10:30 in the morning.

Ketcham Community Center Facilities Manager Nathan Gamet will become the athletic director in July. He reported he wants to do the basics well and believes everything else will fall into place.

He said that when athletics do well, that gets out the school’s name. He wants to serve the community.

Gamet also has a fundraising goal of $50,000 each year. He noted a member-run booster club will be instrumental in that. He wants to make sure the Athletics Department is fiscally responsible. He also wants to grow the athletic program and add other sports. A few select sports could be added at first.

After being asked by Trustee Doctor John Holcomb, Gamet said he would like to see the athletics hall of fame return.

The North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees approved the renewal of health insurance and several personnel items on April 27th.

The 2021-2022 health insurance was renewed with United Healthcare as recommended by Vice President of Business and Finance Tyson Otto. The rates were $600.50 per month per employee for a $1,500 deductible PPO plan and $504.14 per month per employee for a $2,800 deductible HSA plan with a $60 per month contribution by NCMC. The college will cover 100% of the monthly premium costs for employee coverage on those options.

There is a third option of a $2,000 deductible PPO plan for $639.34 per month per employee. The college would pay $600.50 of that premium each month. Employees can buy up to that plan at a cost of $38.84 per month.

Otto reported the United Healthcare renewal rates represented about a nine percent increase over existing plan options.

The college is currently with Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Healthcare. Blue Cross proposed about a 15% increase over its current rates. Tyson said the college examined several different scenarios with Blue Cross, including deductible and other plan changes, to reduce costs, but he believed United Healthcare presented NCMC with better plan options and more competitive pricing.

Otto commented that it gets more difficult each year to find a good balance between affordability and coverage for insurance plans. He is confident with United Healthcare’s service and noted it is one of the largest insurance companies in the country.

Approved personnel matters included a recommendation for emeritus status for Athletic Director Steve Richman. Richman has been an employee at NCMC for 21 years and will retire this year.

In a letter to the board of trustees, Faculty Senate President Cory Cooksey noted Richman has taught 15 different course preps in the Physical Education Department and has never declined a teaching assignment he was asked about. He has also advised students.

Richman has coached men’s basketball with a record of 260 wins. In four seasons of coaching women’s softball, teams achieved more than 131 wins. The women’s softball team is still playing this season.

As athletic director, golf programs were reactivated, and Dance Wave and eSports were added.

Other approved personnel items included the hiring of several employees.

Cydney Moppin of Osborn was hired as a nursing instructor at the Maryville site beginning August 18th. Her salary is expected to be $44,614, but the amount could change with new fiscal year rates.

Kerry Savage of Chillicothe was hired as North Central Missouri College/Workforce Development Board Compliance Coordinator. Savage began the position on April 12th at a salary of $14.76 per hour.

Kelsey Jensen was hired as an adjunct instructor for Therapeutic Massage courses and curriculum development beginning this summer.

Kari Smith of Princeton, Jordain Oshel of Trenton, and Rebecca Myers of Stewartsville were hired as clinical adjunct instructors at the current clinical rate.

The board approved the resignation of Tanda Abernathy as a cook at the Milan Head Start Center. Her last day was March 22nd.

Job descriptions were approved.

A diagnostic imaging instructor is a new faculty position to be at the North Belt Center using existing funds. It will be funded with a budgeted faculty position. The previous position was with the Math/Physics Department.

A campus activities coordinator/head softball coach is a new full-time position, to begin with the new fiscal year. The coaching duties are not new and are already budgeted. The position is pending budgetary allocation and allowance. If the budget does not allow for the new full-time position, NCMC will hire a head softball coach position as a coaching stipend only.

The board approved Faculty Senate Constitution and By-Law changes. They included changing the time of election from the last regular Senate meeting to the second to last regular Senate meeting of the spring semester. Officers will now assume office immediately following the announcement of election results at the last regular Senate meeting of the spring semester instead of immediately following the meeting during which they are elected. The change reflects what is actually happening.

Another change in the Faculty Senate Constitution and By-Laws involves standing and special committee reports made to the Senate. Minutes of the committee meetings and committee recommendations will be available on the Faculty Senate virtual portal. That is a change from the recommendations being filed with the Senate secretary, a final written committee report summarizing the committee’s findings and actions submitted to the Senate president within a week after graduation each year, and committee summary reports being filed in the library. This change reflects what is currently in practice.

The board approved the Public Complaint Policy and Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure for Green Hills Head Start. The documents were unchanged from current policies.

The Head Start Supplemental Application for Cost of Living Adjustment for 2021-2022 was also approved for $29,270. Specifically, $24,423 is for Head Start and $4,847 is for Early Head Start. The adjustment increased salaries by at least one percent. Staff members who fell below the $10.30 minimum wage received a three percent. Staff members who made $10.30 to $11.10 received a two percent increase.

Special board meetings were approved. The trustees will meet in the president’s office on May 11th at noon to accept or reject a bid to begin construction on the proposed new Derry facility. The NCMC Foundation will hold a joint meeting and dinner with the board of trustees during the foundation’s annual meeting in the basement of the Alexander Student Center on May 20th at 5:30 in the evening. A board retreat will be held on May 27th at 3 o’clock in the afternoon at a location to be determined later. Topics trustees want to discuss at the retreat should be submitted to Chief of Staff Kristi Harris by May 15th.

The board went into an executive session to discuss employees.

Jennifer Thies

Jennifer’s interest in radio began at a young age. She started as a news reporter at KTTN in January 2017, but previously worked almost a year and a half as an on-air announcer and with news at the NPR affiliate KXCV/KRNW, which serves Northwest Missouri. Jennifer was born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri. She received a Bachelor of Science in Mass Media: Broadcast Production with an Emphasis in Audio Production from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville.