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BCC falls short on performance agreement
College barely misses improvement goals
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Failing to show enough improvement on certain goals for 2011 will cost Barton County Community College money, President Dr. Carl Heilman said. The exact amount is not yet known, but BCC will only receive 80 percent of its share of any “new money” allocated by the Kansas Legislature this year,  because of its scores on the latest Kansas Board of Regents Performance Agreement.
The Legislature has mandated the performance agreements since 2001. College administrators work with KBOR to set three-year goals and “key performance indicators” for each goal. In order to receive 100 percent funding, the college needed to achieve a majority of indicators on a majority of its goals.
It was close, BCC Vice President Dr. Penny Quinn said. The college met at least half of its performance indicators for the three goals established in the cycle that ended in 2011. The goals were:
•  Increase the efficiency of online education.
• Improve the outcomes in courses students must pass in order to graduate, but that typically have low pass rates: Intermediate Algebra, Intermediate English, Intermediate Reading, English Composition I, and Principles of Biology.
• Improve workforce preparedness and help more high school students make the transition into career and technical education programs.
As Quinn prepared to make a presentation to KBOR earlier this month, she told BCC trustees that one goal was missed by 1 percentage point and one by 2 percentage points. “It wasn’t that anyone failed,” Quinn said, explaining the goals are supposed to be challenging.
Heilman agreed. “By and large we’ve done well by meeting the standards that we’ve set,” he said.
Last year BCC was also unable to show enough improvement for the 100 percent funding level. Since there was no new funding from the Legislature last year, BCC got 80 percent of zero dollars. Although the final figures aren’t known, college and KBOR officials said they are expecting new funding to be approved this year.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal in January included a $41.9 million funding boost for the state’s 32 public institutions of higher learning. Sen. Ruth Teichman, R-Stafford, noted the budget also includes $8.75 million for technical education vouchers.
Jean Redeker, director of academic affairs at KBOR, said Garden City Community College, Labette Community College and Washburn Institute of Technology also will receive only 80 percent of new money, because they also failed to meet a majority of performance indicators for a majority of their goals. “It’s an accountability exercise,” she said. “This is a way for schools to show what they are doing.”
Gary Alexander, vice president for academic affairs at KBOR, said that although BCC and the other three schools didn’t achieve their target, “it’s certainly not an indication that they’re doing a bad job.”
Quinn said she’s excited about the new three-year cycle, which went into effect Jan. 1. A large piece of the new performance agreement focuses on getting more students to complete general equivalency diplomas and then enroll in college classes.
BCC did make improvements as a result of the last round of performance agreements, she said.
“We are looking at a revamp of our developmental mathematics this fall,” Quinn said. “We’re going to see a lot of students be more successful in a shorter amount of time.”
At least one improvement made by the college counted against BCC when it came to what KBOR calls “directional improvement” on the performance agreement, Quinn said. A year and a half ago, BCC implemented an orientation week for online courses. It gives students a full week to drop an online class or transfer to another one. This provides better service to students, but resulted in fewer online course completions, which was a written performance indicator. “We really did the right thing,” Quinn said.