The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Board of Regents approved a 2015-16 budget of $888,114,300 during its quarterly meeting today at Hopkinsville Community College. The budget includes a one percent or $1,000 salary increase, whichever is greater, for full-time faculty and staff.

The 2015-16 budget amount represents a $36 million reduction from the prior year due to a decline in state funding, the decision not to raise tuition and a decrease in enrollment due to the improvingeconomy. Since 2007-08, KCTCS has experienced state budget cuts totaling $38.5 million. And similar to community colleges nationally, KCTCS enrollment runs counter-cyclical to the economy so as the economy improves and more jobs become available many adult students reenter the workforce.

I applaud President Box and the board for their commitment to keeping education affordable by not raising tuition for 2015-16, said KCTCS Board of Regents Chair P.G. Peeples. Despite these belt-tightening times we cannot continue to place the burden of decreased state support on the backs of our students.

The approved recurring salary increase will apply to each regular full-time KCTCS faculty/staff member employed before April 1, 2015 who meets the required performance evaluation standard.This increase is designed to have a greater economic impact on employees in lower pay bands.

President Box and the 16 college presidents have done an outstanding job of implementing efficiencies and cost saving tactics that allow us to compensate faculty and staff for their dedication and untiring efforts in serving our students. We only wish we could have done more, stated Peeples.

The board also elected officers for 2015 17 academic years that include Marcia Roth as chair, Gail Henson as vice chair and Betsy E. Flynn as secretary. Roth lives in Louisville and is the executive director of the Mary Byron Project a public grant-making charity fostering innovations and strategies to end domestic violence. Henson lives in Louisville and is employed by Bellarmine University as professor and past-chair of the Department of Communication, which she founded in 1987, and director of the Senior Interdisciplinary Program.Flynn lives in Murray and is the president, chief executive officer, and chair of Community Financial Services Bank in Benton.

During the meeting the board adopted proposed vision, values and goals for the 2016-22 KCTCS Strategic Plan. KCTCS is engaged in a year-long strategic planning process.The next steps in developing the plan will occur through spring 2016. These will include internal/external forums, meetings with statewide partners to ensure plan alignment, the selection of key performance measures and targets, and final Board approval of the comprehensive strategic plan in June 2016.

In other business, the board reviewed the total number of credentials (associate degrees, diplomas and certificates) awarded for the 2014-15 academic year.For the third year in a row, the number of credentials awarded to students increased. During the 2014 2105 year a total of 51,839 credentials were awarded, a 9.7 percent increase over the prior year.

Additionally, the board:
Reviewed a new website designed to assist the organization in being more transparent and accessible with information that is important to many stakeholders. The site can be accessed at https://kctcs.edu/About_KCTCS/Open_and_Responsible.aspx
Approved or ratified 20 certificate programs and three associate programs:
oAn associate in fine arts in digital cinematic arts for Bluegrass Community and Technical College,
oAn associate in applied science in electrical technology for Gateway Community and Technical College, and,
oAn associate in applied science in supply chain management for Gateway Community and Technical College.
Approved 15,874 academic credential requests (certificates, diplomas or associate degrees) between January 13, 2015 and April 13, 2015.
The credentials include:

o8,938 candidates for certificates,
o1,161 candidates for diplomas, and
o5,775 candidates for associate degrees.

The next meeting of the KCTCS Board of Regents will be September 17-18, 2015 at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.