Alsobrooks provides supes with EMCC update

By: 
DONNA SUMMERALL
Staff Writer

Scott Alsobrooks, president of East Mississippi Community College, with Kathy Dyess and Bubba Davis, gave the Clay County Board of Supervisors an update on the students from Clay County.
"We had 388 full time students enrolled at EMCC for the academic year of 2019 and 20," Alsobrooks said. "These numbers are all from Clay County. We had 91 dual enrollment students, they are earning college credits while still in high school, and will graduate from high school with an Associates Degree."
Alsobrooks said that 100 percent of graduates from high schools in Clay County qualified for tuition assistance from EMCC.
"During that time, the financial aid awarded was $930,181," Alsobrooks said. "We had tutition assistance fundraisers, and we cannot thank CREATE enough. They made sure no student who wanted to continue their education was turned away."

He said they were pleased to tell the board there were 110 graduates from Clay County. EMCC has a partnership with Yokohama Tire to help provide trained workers for the facility.
"We spent $17,028.52 in workforce funds," Alsobrooks said. "These were state funds to help us focus on workforce development. There were 645 non-credit participants. They seek receiving a GED or to have the much needed workforce training."
Clay County residents participated in 3404 non-credit training hours through EMCC's Workforce Division. And has training partnerships with two Clay County businesses.

He said out of EMCC's 350 full-time faculty and staff members, 23 are residents of Clay County.
"We appreciate Clay County," Alsobrooks said. "Our system is the best community college in the U.S."

Alsobrooks said EMCC is opening for the fall semester. Students and faculty will be wearing facial coverings, class sizes will be smaller with room in between the students, and traffic in the school will flow in one direction to promote social distancing.
"We will offer in-person classes and online classes for those who are not comfortable returning to the classroom," Alsobrooks said. "We will be doing things differently this year. But we do want to show the world that we are open and ready to give our students the educational opportunities they need."

The CARES act gave EMCC 4.3 million dollars to help with the issues that have arisen due to COVID-19.
"We allocated 1.7 million dollars to financial aid," Alsobrooks said. "Then 3.4 million dollars went to reimbursement for those who could not return to the campus dorms and those who had meal plans paid for. And for the installation of cameras in every classroom so students who are not attending class in person, can watch the lectures in real time or it will be available to take the class later when it is convenient for them. This is a tech update that we couldn't have been able to do on our own."

RB Davis asked how things are working at the Communiversity.
"We have 200 students enrolled for the fall semester so far," Alsobrooks said. "That is lower that what we were wanting, but things are so unsettled right now. We need about 400 students. The three year plan is to make it up to 400. But we are up a little from last year, so that is encouraging."
Davis said he appreciated EMCC and what they are offering for students and non-traditional students of Clay County.

"We had a very interesting meeting on keeping the workers safe who are employed with local industry," Alsobrooks said. "We were discussing the technology used by athletic programs. Most of the athletes have a device that keeps up with blood pressure, heart rate, hydration, temperature readings. All of this can be used in the workplace to increase the safety and health of employees. It was a good and informational meeting."

Alsobrooks apologized for being late with presenting the year's budget to the supervisors.
"We are running late with our budget," Alsobrooks said. "We will not be asking for an increase in millage. These are tough times for everyone, so we will not be asking for more money. That's always a good thing to be able to tell you."

Dyess said she is very proud of the faculty and staff of EMCC.
"They keep us on budget," Dyess said. "And the staff is doing a top-notch job."

Chancery Clerk, Amy Berry asked the board if they would consider allowing delinquent taxes to be paid online.
"We don't know what to expect in the future," Berry said. "But it would be easier if we allowed the payment of delinquent taxes online. The initial installation will be a one-time cost of $2,000 to connect the credit card interface. If you agree, we can have this available by the first of August."
Berry said due to COVID-19 there have had to be changes and adjustments to the way the county conducts business to offer more convenient ways to pay taxes.
The board unanimously agreed to approve delinquent taxes to be paid online.

Berry asked the board to authorize and approve invoices to Tanner Construction in the amount of $48,328.21 and to Calvert Spradling Engineers in the amount of $4,658.44 for the ERBR Project.
She asked the board to authorize and approve the Homestead Exemption Application for the year 2020.
The board unanimously approved approved the requests from the Chancery Clerk.
The board then went into executive session regarding a personnel matter.
No action was taken.
The board recessed until 9 a.m. Thursday, July 23.

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