Finances improving for Redlands Community College

Redlands Community College is not completely out of its $1.1 million financial hole, but it is making a rapid ascent and now has a clear vision on how to proceed, said Jack Bryant, who was named the Oklahoma school's acting president in June.
by Randy Ellis Modified: August 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm •  Published: August 19, 2013

Redlands Community College is not completely out of its $1.1 million financial hole, but it is making a rapid ascent and now has a clear vision on how to proceed, school leaders say.

In less than three months, college officials have whittled Redlands' $1.1 million in unpaid obligations down to less than $388,000, said Jack Bryant, who was named as the college's acting president June 27.

Redlands' regents and administrators took another major step last week when they presented the staff of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education with a revised budget for the current fiscal year. The new proposed budget is $545,147 less than one state regents deemed inadequate a few months earlier.

State regents are scheduled to consider the revised $10.6 million budget on Sept. 4, Bryant said. Documents presented to regents will show it as an $11.5 million budget because they include more than $850,000 in tuition waivers that do not involve money changing hands.

Redlands' financial woes shook the state's academic community last May when state regents were presented with a financial analysis that showed the college had more than $1.1 million in unpaid obligations, including some dating back more than six months.

Longtime Redlands President Larry Devane resigned less than a month later.

Bryant said the process of cutting the budget has been “tough” and “unfortunately did include some people.”

Nevertheless, Bryant said he is proud of the results.

“We did not cut any services or programs for students,” Bryant said, adding that was his top priority.

About the cuts

Some of the most visible cuts were revealed last month when Bryant announced Redlands would terminate its dairy goat auxiliary enterprise and that he would take on the duties of acting president while continuing to keep his old $87,552-a-year salary.

Bryant previously served as the college's vice president for workforce and economic development. Bryant said he asked regents to keep his salary the same during this time of crisis so the college could bank the $162,132 a year plus benefits that Devane had been earning.

Redlands officials chose not to renew a few employee contracts and not to fill a lot of vacant positions in order to cut expenses, Bryant said.

An assistant livestock judging coach, one full-time employee in the dairy goat operation, a business office employee and a career services employee lost their jobs when their positions were eliminated, he said. Three part-time employees also lost their jobs, including two in the dairy goat auxiliary enterprise, he said.

Bryant identified seven vacant full-time positions and seven part-time positions that were left open and said one full-time job was reduced to a part-time job after a person retired.

by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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