At its November meeting on the Park Hills campus, the Mineral Area College Board of Trustees approved the details of the upcoming election of trustees to be held on April 4th.
“Every two years we elect two trustees,” said Dr. Joe Gilgour, President of MAC. “We have six trustees in total and so two of those seats became vacant in April 23. This is Harvey Faircloth and Camille Nations. Harvey has indicated he won’t be running again, but Camille has indicated she is, but hasn’t submitted yet because it doesn’t open until next month.
Faircloth began his tenure on the Board in 2005 and on Nations in 2018.
According to Gilgour, the filing dates for the trustee election are December 6-27. Candidates must submit to the Office of the College President.
When voters look at the April ballot, they will see that the number and composition of the community college subdistricts has changed significantly.
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Upon completion of the 2020 US Census, MAC was required to develop a Board of Trustees new district plan that reflected the changing demographics of local school districts for submission to the Coordinating Council on Higher Education (CBHE).
In a letter to Kristin Stokely, general counsel of the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development, Gilgour wrote, “Mineral Area College formed a committee of tax district residents to review the census data and recommend subdistrict changes for the college The total population of the tax district is 82,004, an increase of nearly 2,000 residents since the last census. Prior to this review, the Mineral Area College tax district was divided into five sub-districts with one vacant member.
“The committee met on April 11, 2022 to review the census data and decided the best course of action was to adjust the subdistricts from five to two and eliminate the full board position. The subdistricts are within 0.2% of the population and are contiguous. Alignment with school districts makes the voting process easier for voters and district officials. Each sub-district elects three trustees.”
Gilgour recommended to the CBHE that MAC’s subdistricts consist of Subdistrict 1: Farmington R-7 and Fredericktown RI school districts with a total population of 41,103, or 50.1% of the tax district’s population; and Subdistrict 2: North St. Francois County RI, West St. Francois County R-4, Central R-3, and Bismarck R-5 school districts with a total population of 40,901, or 49.9% of the tax district’s population.
“April’s election is for Subdistrict 2,” he said. “It’s made up of North County, West County, Bismarck, and Central school districts. So, anyone who pays taxes and lives in one of those school districts is eligible to run for the board of directors in that election, and anyone in those school districts is eligible to vote in that election. We have two subdistricts. Our other is Subdistrict 1, which is the Farmington and Fredericktown school districts. This election will take place in 2025.”
Gilgour addressed the duties of an individual elected to serve on the MAC Board of Trustees.
“The board sets the guidelines for the institution,” he said. “It’s very high level oversight of the college. They set policies and are ultimately responsible for the college’s fiduciary activities. The board has one employee and that is the president. Then the president hires everyone else and organizes the institution. It’s a lot of responsibility. You are responsible to the taxpayers of our tax district for ensuring that the school’s finances are managed responsibly and that our policies are fair, legal and just.”
Gilgour explained how the two winning candidates are selected.
“No matter how many candidates register to run, each name goes on the ballot in the order of registration,” he said. “The first two subdistrict voters will be the next trustees. If there are only two who stand for election, we have no choice. If it’s more than two, we have a choice. You don’t have to have the majority of the votes, you just have to be one of the top two candidates.”
In his legislative report to the Trustees, Gilgour said: “We look forward to a great legislature. We feel the governor and legislature have been very supportive of community colleges over the past year. They have all indicated that they intend to continue this support.
“We look forward to additional core funding this year and more support for projects like our engineering building, which they have been very helpful with, and other projects that have taken place. The Ministry of Higher Education and Human Resource Development is asking the state to increase basic funding by 7%. It’s a little less than the Missouri Community College Association requires, so we’ll see where that goes. We think the governor is likely to support this. We are very happy about the legislative year. We believe it will be good.”
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-783-9667 or [email protected]