On The Issues: Financial Management

The current board has cut back on spending over the last several years and amassed a sizable reserve fund. The specific reserve numbers provided by the college have fluctuated (which is a problem in and of itself), but a conservative estimate would be that the college has over 20 million dollars in reserve. The annual operating budget for College of the Mainland is in the low 30 million dollar range. The college does need to maintain a reserve fund to satisfy state law and to maintain a healthy bond rating. However a reserve fund in the 5 to 7.5 million dollar range would satisfy both of these concerns and ensure COM has adequate funds to address emergency situations.
The board should proceed conservatively with the budget given that state funding is likely to continue to decrease in the future.  However, hoarding money while enrollment remains stagnant and the facilities deteriorate is not fiscally responsible. Responsibly investing money in our facilities and our students ultimately leads to greater student success, increased enrollment, and higher revenue.
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On The Issues: Student Success

Student success should always be College of the Mainland’s focus. The board of trustees' role is not to create programs to further this, but to surround ourselves with professionals and monitor their progress. Is enrollment increasing? Are we retaining students from semester to semester? Are students achieving success in the workforce once they move on from COM? These are example of the measures the board should evaluate to determine the effectiveness of the institution.
College of the Mainland is fortunate to have a group of dedicated professionals that help our students succeed. We have excellent faculty that educate students in and out of the classroom. Staff members work tirelessly to assist students. This may include walking them through the admission process, providing tutoring services, or advising them on a course of study. The college should ensure faculty and staff have the resources they need to help students succeed. We also need to ensure our employees know they’re valued. Constant changes in the administration and the failure of the college to move forward on the passage of a bond have done little to improve employee morale. 
Our students and employees deserve better:
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On The Issues: Transparency

One of the largest complaints from the public as of late has been that the college does not operate with much transparency. The board struggled to explain why the board declined to renew the previous president’s contract. The board has also voted on significant policy changes with little notice and seems to tolerate, rather than welcome, public comment. There are several concrete steps COM could take to improve transparency:

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Master Plan Review

I've been looking through College of the Mainland's recently completed master plan. Reading through the report makes it clear that a bond is needed to address the college's problems, but there are several immediate problems that should be addressed.

Take a look at the master plan yourself and let me know what you think. Are there specific needs that jump out at you? Do you share the vision for the future of the college expressed in the master plan? Why or why not? I want to hear from you!


Campaign Launch

February 9th, 2016

Melissa Skipworth is pleased to announce her candidacy for College of the Mainland Board of Trustees Position 5. Melissa is a resident of Dickinson and serves on the Bentwood at Bay Colony Home Owner’s Association. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the University of Houston and is currently employed at Grant Thornton LLP as a Resource Manager. Melissa has also worked for Deloitte and previously worked as an in-house corporate recruiter for several healthcare IT companies.

This year, Melissa and her husband Sean will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and they recently celebrated the 5th birthday of their son Christopher. Like many of her neighbors, Melissa is concerned that College of the Mainland, a vital community resource, has lost the community’s trust.

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