— By SALLY SEXTON
Members of the Weatherford College board of trustees had another look at the 2013-14 proposed budget during a report at Thursday’s meeting, taking a step closer to approving the budget.
The initial budget proposal, presented to the board at a June meeting, showed a proposed budget of $53.2 million. Since that time, revenue increased by $326,785, bringing the total proposed budget to $53.5 million.
The board also approved a proposal to adopt a tax rate of 11.46 cents per $100 of taxable home value, a slight increase.
Trustees are scheduled to meet Wednesday to further discuss, and possibly approve, the budget.
Trustees Thursday also approved the naming of the press box at Stuart Field.
Brent Baker, vice president of institutional advancement, told the board that First Financial Bank stepped up as a donor for the Weatherford College Foundation’s capital campaign, committing $75,000. Trustees unanimously voted to name the press box First Financial Bank press box.
To date, close to $2.3 million has been donated or pledged to the campaign, Baker said. Funds from the campaign, the largest in the school’s history, will go toward supporting student scholarships, campus enhancements and other projects.
During the president’s report, WC president Kevin Eaton recognized participants from the annual Peach Pedal Bike Ride, held during the Parker County Peach Festival. The ride, put on by the WC Foundation and the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce, featured 2,115 riders this year.
During the report, Lela Morris, director of testing, shared testing programs with trustees and outlined the process for GED testing at the college.
“Last year, we had 673 testers. 388 of those were first-timers and 285 were either retesting or finished,” Morris said, adding that “331 of those passed their GED, for a revenue of $33,710.”
Numbers for this year were a little lower, with 521 testers, 286 first-timers and 254 either finished or retesting. 238 testers passed their GED for a total revenue of $30,160.
The state has recommended a fee of $135 for online GED testing that will launch on Jan. 1, 2014, along with a more in-depth GED exam.
“A lot of students are trying to take [the GED] now because they’ve heard the new one is supposed to be a little harder,” Morris said. “If they don’t finish testing by the end of the year, then they lose everything and will have to start over.
“By the end of this year, I fully expect to double what we’ve already done so far.”
Morris also asked the board to review a policy approved earlier this year, during open forum.
“It was recently brought to my attention that [the board] approved a new policy that any club or organization has to have at least seven members,” said Morris, who is also the sponsor of the Weatherford College Young Democrats. “During our best year, we only had four members, but we go to events, we hold fund raisers for local charities and we’ve had several voter registrations on campus.”
Board members said they were not aware of the policy but board president Frank Martin said it was something that “the board could definitely go back and review.”
In other news, the board:
• Heard a construction update from a representative with Johnson Controls that the new irrigation system is being installed as well as exterior lighting around campus to help promote student safety after dark.
• Approved a proposal to adopt a tax rate of 11.46 cents per $100 home value. The board will vote whether to approve the tax rate at next week’s meeting.
• Appointed Frank Martin as liaison to the Weatherford College Foundation board.