Southwest Texas Junior College and the SWTJC Foundation, Inc., both received unmodified audit opinions, the best opinion possible, for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2013.
Accountant Eric Ede of Ede & Company presented a report on the latest audit during the board of trustees regular monthly meeting on Dec. 12 in Uvalde.
"In addition to receiving the best opinions, we also found no compliance issues in your internal controls on any programs," Ede said. "You have top of the line personnel throughout your business office and they are a joy to work with."
According to Ede's report, the college's unrestricted net position at the end of the fiscal year was $7,425,127, an increase of $98,533 over last year.
In his president's report, SWTJC President Dr. Hector Gonzales highlighted plans for construction projects in Crystal City, Eagle Pass and Uvalde.
Plans for Crystal City include a technical programs building, wellness center and library facility, while in Eagle Pass a classroom expansion plan is being developed. On the Uvalde campus, plans call for updating all dorm suites, as well as the cafeteria/ballroom area.
Financial advisor David Gonzales of Estrada Hinojosa, Co., Inc., presented the board with a variety of scenarios for financing up to $10 million for the project. Gonzales told the board that interest rates are up about 1% over a year ago.
"Interest rates for the kinds of bonds we are looking at for this project are right at 4%, but the college still has lots of capacity and is in a very good position to get the best rates possible," Gonzales said.
Following Gonzales' presentation, the board authorized Estrada Hinojosa to move forward with a plan of finance that will be presented to the board for final consideration after the first of the year.
Dr. Mark Underwood, SWTJC vice president of academic affairs, updated the board on matters concerning the new Texas Success Initiative examination.
"To date, we have tested approximately 150 students using the new exam and only 30% scored high enough to meet the state's college ready standard," Underwood said. "Of the 70% who were not college ready, approximately half of those scored high enough for developmental level courses, while the other half were at the adult basic education skills level."
Underwood said the college is training staff and considering several options to deal with the formal implementation of the new test and placement standards set by the state.
College president Gonzales told the board that SWTJC plans to work with all area school districts to find ways to improve students' college readiness.
"El Paso Community College seems to have a good model for a collaborative effort between the public schools, the community college and the university," Gonzales said. "We will be taking a close look at their model to find ways to work will all our ISDs to help our incoming students."
In other matters, the board approved extending a note with First State Bank for a past expansion project in Crystal City and approved a resolution from Southwest Water Alliance.
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