NORMAL — More than 40 people have applied to become president of Heartland Community College after current President Rob Widmer retires.
Board member Jeff Flessner, chair of the presidential search advisory committee, told the board at its meeting Tuesday night that 42 people had applied as of 2 p.m. Tuesday and the consultant, Academic Search, told him there were “several more in the hopper.” Tuesday was the deadline for applications to receive “full consideration.”
As a member of the search committee, Flessner has access to the applicants' names and information but must keep them confidential. Flessner said he couldn't say whether any current Heartland employees are among those who applied.
However, Flessner said it is “a very diverse group” of “high quality folks” from around the country.
The next step is for search committee members to review the applicants and select their top 10. Then the committee will meet on Jan. 23 to narrow the overall field to about 10, Flessner said.
Confidential interviews will be conducted with the semifinalists. No names will be released until the three or four finalists are selected, according to procedures outlined earlier.
Widmer has been part of the Heartland administration for more than 20 years and its president since June 2013.
In other business, the board authorized moving forward with a $10.7 million bond issue. A little more than half the money, $5.5 million, will be used for technology, capital projects and repairs. The remainder will be used to refinance existing bonds.
Doug Minter, vice president of business services, said the bonds will go out for online bids later this month. The sale will be completed Feb. 14, he said.
The district retained its AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor's, one notch below the top. Minter said he expects a favorable interest rate on the bonds.
The district also retained its Aa2 rating from Moody's Investment Service, two notches from the top, although that was not related to this bond issue, Minter said.
Minter also gave the board an update on his strategic budget forecast.
“We know we have some challenges ahead,” Minter told the board.
Those challenges include an end to the ability to levy the so-called “equity tax,” which is based on a complex formula related to the district's property assessments and student enrollment.
Administrators will recommend tuition rates for the 2018-19 academic year to the board at its Feb. 20 meeting. They will talk with students later this month.
Minter said a $1-per-credit-hour increase in tuition would raise about $100,000 in revenue. The current tuition rate is $137 per hour, not including fees.
Board Chairman Gregg Chadwick said it would be great to know what impact a $1 per credit hour tuition increase would have on enrollment.