Campus News · Community News

Board of Trustees discuss budget, new programs in September meeting

Annette Berntsen

Butler Lantern

The following information was taken from the Board of Trustees meeting held on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Each quotation is written as it was said during the meeting.  

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Board of Trustees met to vote on the 2020-21 mill levy budget and discuss the possibility of implementing new technical programs.  

The meeting began with the re-vote of the 2020-21 budget plan. While it was voted on during the Tuesday, Aug. 11 meeting, the votes were invalid because of a lack of public notice 10 days prior to the meeting. Trustee Forrest Rhodes motioned to approve the budget at $14,420,075. This was seconded by Trustee Mary Martha Good and passed unanimously.  

After a few campus updates regarding student activities, Trustee Good discussed the approval of a bill that would provide COVID-19 contact tracers to colleges and universities. The bill was approved by the Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary of State Scott Schwab.  

“We’ll probably make a landing in the House or the Senate in January,” Trustee Good said. 

Kimberly Krull, president of Butler Community College, announced that the college recently `launched their project “Search Interns,” an ongoing program designed to help disabled students find employment.  

“It’s really a partnership between Butler County special education interlocal and the college and some businesses within the community,” Krull said. “They [the students] represent all of the different school districts in the Butler County special education interlocal area.” 

Students in this program complete an internship their senior year of high school and graduate as soon as they finish the program. The program provides them with employment skills and job training. According to Krull, this is the seventh or eighth year the project has been run.  

The board then moved on to discuss the possibility of introducing a construction technology program. Introduced in March and approved in June, the program is designed to encourage young individuals to take interest in construction. Mel Whiteside, the dean of Science, Engineering and Math at Butler, discussed the various aspects of the program and what he hopes to accomplish with it. Whiteside teamed up with several construction agencies to support the program and provide job opportunities for students who go through it.  

“There’s not very many young people getting into construction,” Tyler Dehn, a representative from Wildcat Construction, said. “So we’ve got to find ways, and that’s why we latched on to this opportunity with Mel [Whiteside].” 

The program includes various fields, such as masonry, electrical and plumbing, that will provide students with technical skills needed for the job force. Whiteside also wants to include internships and scholarships in the program to further encourage students to join.  

“The other issue we have in the construction industry is we are aging rapidly,” Larry Weis, vice president of Eby Construction, said. “The talent’s going out the door at a rapid pace. If we can get some young kids in here who are interested in the business, and we can get their curiosity up so they want to be students of the business, the opportunities for them is astronomical what they can do.” 

After some discussion about the possibilities and costs of the program, Trustee Law motioned to approve of the program and was seconded by Trustee Rhodes. The motion passed unanimously.  

The meeting concluded with a discussion over changes to the board bylaws, specifically the code of ethics. Changes were voted on in groups at first, but after argument over some specific policy changes like confidentiality violations, the board instead voted on each change separately. Most motions passed unanimously, and those that were not unanimous were passed by the majority.  

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