The chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education said Thursday he's optimistic about Redlands Community College's future.
Board chairman Jimmy Harrel said he's confident Redlands officials would be able to finish bringing the college out of its recent financial problems. A financial analysis released last May showed the college owed more than $1.1 million in unpaid bills, including some dating back more than six months.
After little discussion, the board voted Thursday to accept a revised $11.5 million budget. The budget contains about $10.6 million in spending and $856,000 in scholarships and fellowships, where no money changes hands.
Acting Redlands President Jack Bryant told the board Wednesday that the college had paid off about 70 percent of what it owed and had negotiated structured payment plans with its largest vendors. College officials plan to have the remaining unstructured debt paid off by December, he said.
Although the May report didn't point to any single cause for the problem, it cited bad billing practices and years of uncollected tuition and fees as a contributing factor.
During the audit, staff members in the college's business office showed auditors a stack of checks the office had printed but couldn't mail because of a lack of money, according to the report.
Longtime college President Larry Devane resigned less than a month later.
The college has cut a number of its auxiliary programs to trim costs, including a goat dairy program. Cutting that program allowed the college to sell its goat herd and cut one full-time position and five part-time positions.