WC board received fine arts update, proposes tax rate decrease
Duane Durrett, dean of fine arts at Weatherford College, provided an update to the Board of Trustees on the accomplishments of his department at their August meeting last week.
Among them was jazz studies instructor Fredrick Sanders’ recent trek to Switzerland, where he performed and taught at the 2023 Ascona Jazz Festival. He’s been invited back next summer and asked to bring the WC Jazz Orchestra with him.
Durrett also announced the return of the community choir’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” scheduled for Dec. 4 and the upcoming addition of student and faculty-created art to the Emerging Technologies and Workforce Building, Academic Building and the Speaker Jim Wright Library.
He also highlighted an articulation agreement in the works between WC and the University of Texas at Arlington for digital media students and a request to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for a one-year piano performance certificate.
“We have a fantastic fine arts department and Weatherford College is quickly becoming the cultural hub of our five-county service area,” said WC President Tod Allen Farmer. “I’m so proud of what you are doing.”
Farmer also praised the work of Dr. Hyeyoung Song on the establishment of the WC International Piano Competition and her upcoming induction into the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame.
“You know, four to five years ago, if you would have told us that these musicians would be coming from all over the world to Weatherford, Texas, staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and performing truly world-class music here at Weatherford College, it would have sounded like a pipe dream,” Farmer said. “And yet, thanks to the people in the audience today, particularly Dr. Song and Dean Durrett, that particular dream became a reality.”
The board also proposed the 2023 WC ad valorem property tax rate for Parker County property owners. At 10.6087 cents per $100 valuation, the rate is lower than last year’s 12.2476 cents. The 2022 state average among community colleges was 16.743 cents.
If approved, the new rate will represent the largest WC tax rate cut in at least 20 years, and most likely the largest tax rate decrease in the college’s history.
A public tax hearing will take place at noon on Monday, Aug. 21, in the third-floor Community Room of the Emerging Technologies and Workforce Building. Following the hearing, the board will consider action to adopt the 2023-24 budget and tax rate.
In other business the board:
- Approved the minutes from the July 13 meeting.
- Approved the financial reports ending July 31.
- Approved a policy for future board meeting dates and times for the 2023-24 fiscal year.
- Approved sealed bids for color and web printing services.
- Approved faculty rank and promotion procedures. The procedures were approved after extensive work from the Faculty Senate and other stakeholders in an effort to reward excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.
- Rejected a proposal for a new irrigation well at the Weatherford campus. Only one bid was returned. Administration will seek additional proposals in the future.
- Received written reports from WC Wise County and student services.
In his president’s report, Farmer:
- Recognized sonography program graduates Talayna Halley and Inna Begma on their recent employment at the prestigious Mayo Clinic.
- Recognized the 45 student-athletes and sports teams honored by the National Junior College Athletic Association as All-Academic.
- Recognized Paul Bonzagni and Kade Bragg, former WC baseball players, on their recent selection in the Major League Baseball draft.
- Announced the resignations of Felix Granados, associate degree nursing instructor; Caitlin Ferguson, Student Support Services counselor; Darryl Jackson, kinesiology instructor and men’s assistant basketball coach; and Jane Rogers, assistant director of purchasing.
- Provided an enrollment report for the Fall 2023 semester. As of Monday, Aug. 7, there were 4,308 students enrolled compared to 3,624 this time last year, an 18.9 percent increase. Registration is ongoing. The final Summer 2023 enrollment was 1,875, up 5.8 percent (104 students) from last summer.