NEWTON, NJ – Sussex County Community College’s (SCCC) Vice President of Finance and Operations/CFO Frank Nocella reported at the Monday, July 28 college board of trustees meeting that as of June 2014, the college had clocked in 67,000 credit hours. Though last year, the credit hours were 72,066, Nocella was still hopeful.
“We look to see the credit hours certainly grow,” said Nocella. “We’re looking to see how we can increase those numbers.”
The goal is in the 75,000 to 80,000 credit hour range, with 90,000 credit hours the most ideal.
“Our work now is on the enrollment side,” Nocella added.
He said that the reduction of operating expenses could help to make this goal closer to reality.
Nocella additionally said the operating budget now has 2.4 months of cash on hand.
Ed Leppert, one of the members of the board of trustees, and a tax and accounting professional who runs his own firm for close to 30 years, noted, “It was another great job in managing the balance sheet on the credit and revenue sides.”
Glenn Gavan, the chairman of the board of trustees said, “It wasn’t many years ago that we had a zero fund balance. All the people have sacrificed to do more with less. We were in bad shape.”
Judge Lorraine Parker, vice chair said, “We’ve laid off employees and that means those folks over there had to take on more responsibility,” gesturing towards members of the faculty who sat close to Nocella during the meeting. “We didn’t get here by magic, we got here by hard work and hard decisions.”
Sussex County Community College President Dr. Paul Mazur noted that the college has done well with accreditation audits, and the school’s most recent performance will help.
“We’ve had a couple of good audits and hope we have something more to show them,” Mazur said.
Parker focused on the school’s articulation agreements in effect with several institutions, including one that is recommended for approval with Berkeley College.
Ramapo is one college that Sussex County Community College has an agreement with. Parker relayed a portion of an email correspondence to the crowd from a student at Ramapo that had graduated from SCCC that had been sent to a member of the faculty, which she said spoke volumes.
“’Your faculty members have planted seeds that you don’t even know about,’” Parker read.
During the public portion of the meeting, Dr. Anthony Balzano, Professor of Anthropology & Sociology and Vice-President of the Sussex County College Faculty Federation offered encouragement to the board and administration.
“Full-time faculty are seeking to be more proactive than reactive as events unfold and all our good works progress,” Balzano said. “We are here to support the college administration and the Trustees to make Sussex County Community College the flagship community college in New Jersey. We not only bring years of experience working with SCCC students in the classroom, outside the classroom, in advising and in their post-community college experiences, most of us are also here and available year-round.”
Though Balzano reiterated the faculty federation was not seeking to usurp the administration or the trustees, he said, his group considered itself a vital link, because “we share your goals that place student needs first in all we do.”
Balzano expressed concerns about the college’s D-building potentially being “offline” during the spring and fall of 2015.
“Let’s talk about turning a disruptive situation that is displacing students into positive learning experiences,” Balzano said. “Our present circumstances are a perfect time for faculty to use innovative ideas and methods.”
In other business:
Discussion about the Horton Mansion is off the table until the next trustee meeting on September 22. Hank Pomerantz, a member of the adjunct faculty, did mention that he met a member of the Horton family when he volunteered his time at the recent Thursday on the Green. The family member asked what was happening to the home. Pomerantz offered to sign a waiver, and said he would gladly take photos of the interior and its current condition. He mentioned about special programs that the Home Depot and Lowe’s also offer for renovations of soldiers’ homes. “So many people could get involved to save this building,” he said. Betty Allen, an historical society member presented the trustees with a preservation project article and suggested it could be a project to teach the students.
The trustees declined to break into executive session at last night’s meeting and all voted against it. “I’m adamantly opposed into going into executive session to discuss what we have to discuss in the open,” Parker said. Mazur advised that the college has hired a third law firm, Saiber, to review questions that have come up regarding the Building D construction. Mazur said the college had met with their attorney and “we were advised to be proactive with this, and get this done in an efficient manner,” in terms of a review. A small scuffle of words ensued during this discussion, when board member Daniel Perez complained that his questions on the topic of Saiber were not answered. Gavan countered that Perez’s list of questions to fellow board members on the topic were only presented on Friday, July 25 after 5:30 p.m.
Mazur announced the upcoming “Rockin’ Fest” to support student vets. The event is free and scheduled for Saturday, September 13, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with seven bands, food, vendors, and raffles. Parking is $10 per car and $5 per motorcycle.
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