Allen Community College is on the verge of beefing up its agricultural program.
ACC trustees learned about the future of the program from Jon Marshall, vice president for finances and operations.
“The enrollment in ag courses this semester is in the single digits and that’s not OK,” Marshall said of the small class sizes.
The program has struggled in recent years to attract agriculture students. Of 317 potential places in the provided courses; only 136 are taken.
“There are ag programs in high schools around our survey area,” he said. “We are continuing to take steps to move forward.”
Redeveloping present courses is one step. Many courses within the program do not have textbooks. Marshall said discussion has begun to discontinue the school’s meat judging team. Marshall also said the program is overstaffed.
Fort Scott and ACC are the two community colleges in the Southeast portion of Kansas that offer an agriculture program.
“I really want us to be of service to these students,” Marshall said. “I want us to have the best program.”
JOHN MASTERSON, ACC president, spoke to trustees about a new legislative bill that could potentially affect the county. House Bill 2456 would allow all commercial and industrial machinery used directly in the manufacture of cement, lime or similar products to be classified as tangible personal property for property tax purposes.
This bill was introduced by Ash Grove Cement, Chanute. Neosho County has projected a $7.5 million annual loss from this bill.
“What happens when the next industry does this, too,” Masterson asked.
Masterson wrote to the legislature and voiced his concerns. He is worried this bill could reduce evaluation of community college counties, putting a greater burden on property owners.
“There is a rush to cut taxes and someone is going to pay,” trustee Ken McGuffin said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— The Phi Theta Kappa All-Kansas Academic Team Luncheon is Thursday in Topeka. Crystal Cotton and Harvey Flowers from the Burlingame campus and Jessica Lancaster and Austin Weldy from the Iola campus will represent Allen.
— The trustees looked over plans for the Facility and Technology Master Plans.
— The Burlingame campus will visit Burlingame High School for an info night at parent-teacher conferences. They will talk about the college’s majors and how students can pursue careers with them.