Board OKs tuition hike, Kays’ contract

Topics such as tuition increases, the evaluation of Dr. Brenda Kays, and concealed carry on campus were discussed on the second floor of the McLaurin Administration Building as it overflowed with students and community members on Monday night.

The meeting lasted about three hours as the Board of Trustees went into executive session for an hour and a half to discuss personnel issues dealing with Dr. Kays’ first year as KC president.

Kays’ contract was unanimously approved to run through Aug. 31, 2020 after the Board of Trustees performed their evaluation.

“We are publicly pleased by Dr. Kays’ performance and are looking forward to extending her contract,” said Larry Woodfin, KC Board president. “Dr. Kays, you are rehired.”

After the extension of her contract, Kays joked and said she guesses now she will be able to eat for the next three years.

“All kidding aside, it is an honor and a privilege to lead Kilgore College with talented administration, faculty and staff. I really appreciate the visionary leadership of our Board of Trustees,” Kays said. “I look forward to spending the length of my tenure with the institution making sure we are always striving for student success at the institution, that we are achieving our mission, our vision, our values and that we are living our strategic plan, because we all realize that without our students, there is no reason for us to be in existence.”

These students will pick up a little more of the responsibility as they foot the bill for increases in the Fall 2017 semester. Low contact hours and a drop in state funding were cited reasons, but KC is still the eighth lowest tuition in the state, trustees pointed out.

Heath Cariker, KC police chief, presented an update from his campus carry committee.

Included in the discussion were exclusion zones, areas on campus where concealed carry will not be permitted. The areas without concealed carry are where employee and student hearings are held, athletic events, K-12 events, open meetings, testing centers and in the various academy classes, such as police and fire. Three permanent and 14 temporary zones have been set up and will be posted next week.

Cariker took to the podium and made the audience aware of the precautions he and his campus carry committee have been making over the past months. The committee included faculty, staff and two students, Kami Pack and Josh Boffling.

The committee met in September 2016 to begin making a plan for KC and discuss what rules would be applied. Later that year, in November surveys were sent out to students; during this time, four town hall meetings were held. Two in Longview and two in Kilgore, one for students and one for teachers respectively.

Soon after, in December 2016, there were still not any exclusion zones established on campus. After attending a workshop in January in Austin to compare notes with other community colleges, the committee found they were ahead of other schools in their preparations. Next month the final draft of campus carry rules will be submitted to the board to make a vote.

For information concerning concealed carry, log on to kilgore.edu/concealedcarry.

Updates to facilities will be made over the next few months according to Jeff Williams, Environmental Safety and Construction and Facilities Manager. The Quads will be repaired and repainted. One quad will be fixed per month. Doors and trim will be repaired and will be followed with power washing, painting and re-leveling the ground in the area.

Williams commended the work on Nolen Hall over the past six weeks.

“We replaced the drainage lines and within four weeks had the second and fourth floor return to their dorms; after six weeks, the first floor was able to return,” he said.

In a new segment of the board meeting named, “Where Are They Now,” Maize Jamison, a KC alumni and former Rangerette, spoke about her time at KC as a Rangerette and a student.

“I simply cannot image my life without the Rangerettes,” she said.

Jamison attended KC from 1967 to 1969. She attended the University of Texas at Austin to receive her bachelors’ degree and Texas State University to receive her masters’. During her time as a Rangerette, she was under the direction of Gussie Nell Davis. While speaking, she told of her times meeting other Rangerettes outside of Kilgore.

“We’re everywhere,” Jamison said, “and I think the world is better for having us everywhere.”

The employee spotlight was presented by Becky Johnson, Dean of Liberal Arts. She introduced Charleen Worsham, Director of eLearning, and Doris Johnson, Coordinator of eLearning. The two women were nominated years ago by Becky Johnson for the transfer to BlackBoard from Moodle, an online learning system, but did not receive recognition until now. The two thanked the board.

The Student Spotlight, presented by Judy DeRouen, Support Specialist and Marketing and Facilities Rental, was Adan Aguinaga, Dallas sophomore.

Aguinaga discovered KC when he went to a college fair his school hosted. Prior to this, Aguinaga considered dropping out of high school in the 11th grade. He now has a GPA of 3.67 and has been involved with various KC clubs and activities, including the Ranger Ambassadors, Math Club, Latinos En Accion, Homecoming court nominee and many more.

“Kilgore College made me a better person,” he said.

He has plans to transfer to Miami University Ohio in the fall and major in Public Administration.

James Walker, Vice President of the Board, concluded the meeting with describing how the Ranger Softball team has been an asset to the community. The team has held two softball tournaments, hosting 14 teams, roughly estimated to around 300 people, not including fans who decided to travel. Around 125 motel rooms were rented and around 2,500 meals were eaten within the community, causing an economy boost.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Monday, April 10 on the second floor of the McLaurin Administration Building. For more information on the board, on to print out an agenda or a citizen comment form, go to Kilgore.edu/boardoftrustees.