Weatherford College board of trustees approved proposing a tax rate decrease for the 2019-20 year during their meeting on Thursday afternoon in the Doss Student Center.
The final adoption of the tax rate and budget will take place on Aug. 29.
The proposed tax rate is $0.11495 per $100 valuation, a decrease from the current rate of $0.11947 but above the effective rate.
According to a WC press release, this is the fourth time in five years that the board has proposed a decreased tax rate.
The budget is balanced at about $60.26 million, WC Executive Vice President of Financial and Administrative Affairs Andra Cantrell said. The budget covers maintenance items and salary increases among other things. Cantrell clarified that overload and adjunct salaries would be increased by 8 percent, whereas her budget presentation on Tuesday said part-time employees would also be subject to the increase.
Board Vice Chairperson Sue Coody said WC is moving forward without increasing taxes and still doing well.
“That makes me happy and I imagine lots of other people,” Coody said.
WC will host two public hearings regarding the tax rate because the rate is expected to generate more revenue than the current rate. The first will be on noon Aug. 19 in the Mince Administration Building conference room, and the second hearing will take place at 5 p.m. Aug. 22 in the Doss Student Center Allene Strain Community Room.
The board heard reports regarding the Guided Pathways program, the demand study and student success as it relates to WC Wise County campus. Vice President of Instructional and Student Services Michael Endy gave an update about the new veterinary technician program and announced that the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter had raised enough money to break ground on the medical and surgical center. WC is partnering with the animal shelter to offer instruction to students.
Weatherford Municipal and Community Service Director Dustin Deel attended the meeting and said the bid for the medical and surgical center will be considered by Weatherford City Council on Tuesday. The shelter is still in need of $250,000 to construct the classroom and outreach building.
“As long as they approve and award the bid, 10 days after and we could be starting as early as really the week after,” Deel said.
Endy said the classes are expected to start in fall 2020. The college is discussing marketing for the program and funding options for scholarships and equipment.
During the President’s Report, WC President Tod Farmer said enrollment for both summer sessions had record high enrollment, with 1,755 students in Summer I and 1,219 students in Summer II. Looking forward to fall 2019, enrollment may land near last fall’s record high enrollment.
Farmer also said during his report that the WC Foundation had a 112 percent year-to-date increase in donations and giving in 2019’s first quarter and a 225.2 percent increase in the second quarter. The third quarter increases are expected to be more than the first two quarters combined.
Farmer also recognized Director of Admissions Ralph Willingham for being awarded the Diana Davis Award by the Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists for his service to veterans. Willingham has been a WC employee for 46 years.
The next regular meeting for the trustees is on Sept. 12.