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Trustees approved an intent to sell $2.8 million in funding bonds for technology and infrastructure upgrades

Highland Community College Trustees approved an intent to sell $2.8 million in funding bonds for technology and infrastructure upgrades during the July board meeting. The College will levy to re-pay the funding bonds, but College administrators have structured the repayment schedule so that the tax rate should remain the same as it was in 2003 prior to the public’s approval of an education fund referendum.

“We have an opportunity to decrease our spending in the protection, health, and safety fund because we have completed a number of safety-related plans. That decrease will allow us to make the needed technology and infrastructure purchases without increasing the tax rate,” said Vice President of Administrative Services Jill Janssen.

The College has a technology plan in place, including a computer replacement schedule. However, due to state and other funding cuts, it has only been able to fund the plan at about 40% a year resulting in 38% of the current computers being more than 5 years old. Other categories being funded under this plan include technology infrastructure, audio-visual classroom equipment, parking lot repavement, and some lease payments. The technology infrastructure and audio-visual equipment will directly benefit students by speeding up the network and by providing more opportunities for multi-media instruction in the classroom.

Trustees will hold a public hearing about the intent to sell funding bonds during the August board meeting at 4:00 p.m. on August 15, 2006. Notice of the hearing will be published in several local newspapers.

Trustees also approved a tentative fiscal year 2007 budget. A public hearing about the budget will be held at 4:00 p.m. on September 19, 2006, and the budget is available for public inspection until that date. The FY07 operating budget shows an excess of revenues over expenditures of $42,850. The College anticipates the budget will change because as new information is received, revenue and expenditure projections will change.

With the approval of Trustees, the College will join with other Illinois community colleges in contesting Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s interpretation that community colleges are state agencies rather than units of local government under the ethics act. Trustees noted that they already have an ethics policy and support the development of further ethics-related activities by the College. It is the interpretation that community colleges are state agencies under the act, and the possible implications, that is concerning. Highland will provide a maximum of $3,000 toward the legal research and exploration.

2998 W. Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032-9341

Fax 815-235-6130

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