NELSONVILLE — Hocking College administrators are hopeful for the upcoming fall semester.
President Betty Young described the college as being in a “good place post-COVID 19” during her address to the Board of Trustees on Thursday, June 25. She applauded the college’s staff as the main asset that allowed the college to go to mainly remote work in the space of a few weeks.
It must have felt that the college was financially stable to the board as well — Young received a $70,000 performance-based bonus for the past year. The president earns roughly $200,000 a year, having received several performance-based raises during the past three years.
In 2016, the Board of Trustees approved a four-year contract extension to Young. The contract added to Young’s then-contract, which positioned her as president of Hocking College through April 2021. She was awarded a $25,000 salary increase in 2017. She also received an earned bonus of $37,500 in concurrence with her previous contract for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
College spokesperson Tim Brunicardi provided a statement to media via email.
“Dr. Young’s salary is commensurate with other 2-year college presidents in the state of Ohio,” he wrote. “Like many executive leaders, her contact (sic) includes incentives in the form of bonuses for performance. As a result, the Board of Trustees has honored the stipulations of the contract by awarding her a bonus of $70,000 or 35 percent of her annual salary for her performance over the past year.”
In her opening statements, Young commended the college for its transition to distance learning in the spring semester.
“It truly was seamless to our students from our end,” she said, noting that retention for the spring semester was up by 1 percent. She noted that workers who needed to be on campus to do their jobs have stepped up to take over on-campus aspects of other people’s jobs who are now working remotely.
Young noted the three priorities stated during the May 2020 Board meeting: the health and safety of students and employees, continued academic progression and successful operation of the college. To that end, there will be free antibody testing for Hocking College employees on July 22, rapid-response testing equipment has been requested and administrators are exploring self-reporting applications to see if it could help with contact tracing and disease spread prevention.
“Some technology is prohibitively expensive, and the accuracy of some is questionable,” Young said. “So we are continuing to explore things like thermo-imagining equipment. But we’re going to get what we can get.”
Protocols for almost all aspects of campus life have been created.
However, a main goal for the college remains to get students on campus this fall, and keep them on-campus. Young noted that the college is seeking more activities for students to take part in on campus. The college’s tennis courts are being resurfaced, and pickleball courts are being added.
Keeping students on campus will help reduce transmission, Young explained, which is also why students will be finishing the last few weeks of classes from home. Students will leave before Thanksgiving, and will not return for the last few weeks.
The college still touts a balanced budget. Around $1.2 million was received in federal money from the CARES Act. About $840,000 of that funding was used to refund students’ meal plans and dorms, as well as $1.2 million for needy students affected by COVID-19.
“We anticipate some state funding, but it’s been undetermined at this point, to be included in our budget, and there may be restrictions,” she said.
However, the state funding model is causing a drop in the institutions state share of instructional funding.
“We have improved in every category and still lost funding,” Young said. “Larger institutions with greater populations will always benefit under that model; smaller institutions will continue to lose under that model.”
She said the college anticipates a 10 percent cut, amounting to about $1 million. However, the re-appropriation of capital funds was passed and the governor signed it, allowing for the college to move forward on all capital projects previously planned.