December 18, 2023

President of Copper Mountain College

Hi folks, Daren Otten, Superintendent/President here at Copper Mountain College. This is your recap from the December 14, 2023 board meeting. There were several items that were discussed within closed session, including that the board ultimately did announce that they have completed
my annual evaluation, which I’m truly appreciative of.

Additionally, the board moved into their annual organizational meetings for the year, and board President Lombardo’s term has expired, and so starting here for 2024, trustee Greg Gilbert will now again serve as the board president. Subsequently, Dick Rogers will serve as the board vice president, and the board clerk will be trustee Mary Lombardo. Additionally, appointments to the county committee on school district organizations are Liz Meyer, and the foundation board of directors’ trustee liaison is Trustee Jerry Garber.

These are things that happen every year. The board annually reorganizes based on the calendar year, and this will be the slate of officers for the 2024 year. As always, you can see more information if you want to see the actual details of all of the items that we’re going to discuss today on Board Docs.

Sharon Zampino was recognized for her Star Award, and really all of the additional and above beyond work that she did specifically around the art tours this year and supporting those activities.

Moving on to the student showcase, Alan Eredia shared his journey to Copper Mountain College, and specifically the support services and wraparound services that have allowed him to be successful. Alan is really the type of student that we hope to serve and support with the various items that we ultimately provide, whether those are food services, food support, whether that’s mental health counseling, or specifically support items for foster youth.

One of the items that came through on the presentation side of the agenda was a presentation specifically on NextUp, Alyssa Zarate and Jasmine Schaffer, and NextUp is designed to specifically support foster youth.

Oftentimes, foster youth have many barriers that ultimately contribute to some of the challenges that they have, and specifically, they look for environments where they can build trust and connection and consistency. Many of these were themes in Alan’s presentation that were echoed in
Alyssa and Jasmine’s presentation.

A couple of other things I’d like to share that were reported out. The enrollment for the year, as we look towards spring, we are 2.2% up on headcount, year over year for spring term. The fall term ended up a little over 10% up on headcount.

This is critical for several reasons, mostly because our hold harmless funding will be re-benched based off of one-third of this year’s actual enrollments.

Currently we’re held harmless to 17,18, and the other two years are going to be under emergency condition allocations. What this really means again is that one-third of our funding, as we go forward, will be directly related to the enrollments that we ultimately have this year, and enrollment is still the largest factor associated with the resources that are allocated to Copper Mountain College.

One of the other things that was discussed at length is that the state is really entering a very challenging time in their budget. For many folks, they are aware that the state has announced that they are facing a $68 billion shortfall, as we look towards the 24-25 year in beyond.

This is concerning, however, I will acknowledge that Copper Mountain College is in as good as a shape as we possibly can be, entering some very unknown times, and challenging times for the state as we move forward.

I thank all of you for the work that we’ve done to get ourselves to that particular place. Only time will tell how the state funding will ultimately impact Prop 98 and ongoing resources that come to the community college system. Again, we are in as good a shape as we possibly can be, and are here and will be able to weather the storm because of the intentionality that we’ve put forward in ensuring the finances are stable.

It was also on the agenda that the board amended my contract, and I want to be transparent about the fact that I’m very appreciative of the board amending my contract around both the discussion on compensation parity, but also around the contract term.

What they’ve done at this point is chosen to do a rolling four -year contract, assuming a satisfactory annual evaluation. Part of the reason they’ve done that is that the board sees pretty significant board turnover over the next several years, and are hoping to ensure that their stability in the superintendent president role as we navigate that board transition time.

As we look towards the next board meeting, we’re going to have the annual CCT nomination. We’ll be reviewing the mission statement, and ultimately we’ll be continuing our work on accreditation and the various pieces that we need to complete between now and when we submit the ICER. So again, for more information, you can go take a look at board docs, and as always, I wish you all a amazing holiday season, have a great and safe new year, and I’m looking forward to the spring term.