Weatherford Democrat

February 19, 2013

WC trustees call for May 11 election


Weatherford Democrat

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By SALLY SEXTON

Two trustee places will be on the May ballot after the Weatherford College board voted to approve a called election.

Trustees approved Place 1 and Place 2, currently occupied by Elaine Carter and Jean Bryan, to be added to the May 11 election Thursday.

Brent Baker, vice president of Institutional Advancement, noted that Carter, who has filed for re-election requested the use of paper ballots during the election.

“Electronic is the standard system that is used during elections,” Baker said of the voting format.

According to Baker, going from electronic to paper would cost more, to accommodate more judges, clerks and other personnel to monitor the election.

“There is also the issue of the Department of Justice,” Baker said. “If changes were made, we would have to request pre-clearance before the election.”

After a lengthy debate, during which one board member expressed his support of using the paper ballots, the trustees voted to table the subject until a special-called session on Feb. 21.

Opening up the meeting, Weatherford College President Kevin Eaton gave an update on the Texas Legislature, and the possibility of funding cuts to the college.

“[Cuts] would be the worst case scenario that we’d see, but there are a lot of positives that would come out of it as well,” Eaton said.

Eaton also revealed two proposed bills, House Bill 407, proposed by Rep. Phil King, and Senate Bill 439, proposed by Sen. Brian Birdwell, that dealt with Hood County, Hill College and Weatherford College.

King’s bill, if passed, would designate Hood County as part of WC’s service area.

A memorandum of understanding between Hill College and Weatherford was approved by trustees outlining the roles for Weatherford College and Hill College in Hood County. The document will be sent to King to attach to HB 407.

One discussion item, brought forth by president Frank Martin, dealt with veteran services at the college, particularly tuition rates.

“A lot of times, you’ve got veterans that are going to school and taking classes and their GI bill runs out,” Martin, who is a veteran himself, said. “And the VA doesn’t pay for continuing education.”

Martin also referenced the Hazelwood Act, a state benefit that provides veterans and their families an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption at public institutions of higher education, and challenged the Weatherford College staff to find more options to help offer more to veterans.

Kathy Bassham, who was recognized earlier in the meeting for receiving the Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished College Administrator Award, noted that the college had taken steps recently to do more to honor veterans, including ordering red, white and blue cords for commencement ceremonies as well as reserved seating at home basketball games.

In other action, the board:

• Approved Steele & Freeman, Inc. as the construction manager-at-risk for the pre-construction phase of the proposed new Health Sciences Building.

• Tabled action on a faculty rank and title proposal.

• Approved two deeds without warranty for the Mineral Wells Education Center, correcting a legal description of two small parcels of land on the Fort Wolters facility.

• Heard an enrollment report for the Spring 2013 semester.

• Approved updates to local policies, including ones that addressed bullying and dating violence.