Although Weatherford College has been a part of Wise County for some time, and we understand and value the new Wise County campus, we might not know much about the college administration.
Recently I read an article in the college’s alumni magazine, The Hilltop, that gave a keen insight into how the college is managed and the integrity of the schools financial accountability.
The story “Money Matters” written by Linda Bagwell shows that WC President Dr. Kevin Eaton is correct when he says “we are definitely good stewards of taxpayer money.”
Since Wise County taxpayers send several hundred thousand dollars into the Weatherford College system each year to support our branch campus, I thought you would be interested in how the college manages its finances.
“We continually strive to do the best we can with the money we have, and we do a good job,” Eaton said, referring to a report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The report, based on 2012 statistics, compares the financial strength of the state’s 50 community and junior college districts and Weatherford College stands at the top in the statistics.
In the area of “financial vulnerability,” which measures unrestricted money versus operating expenses, Weatherford College was the top college in Texas with Grayson College and Paris Junior College in second and third positions.
“Primary reserves” looks at how long a college could survive without new money coming in. On a ratio that should be at least .13, WC scored 1.06. Collin County College (McKinney) was the only institution to score higher.
“Viability” is how much debt the college could pay off with the money it has on hand. The state recommends a score of at least .51, and WC received 4.79 with only Tarrant County College and Central Texas College scoring higher.
“Debt burden” measures how much of total expenses are for debt service. A healthy score is below 5 percent, and WC was well below that at 1.1 percent. Only 12 out of 50 colleges scored below 2 percent.
In a matter crucial to the school’s future, the college board of trustees, voted several years ago that at least 20 percent of each budget be allocated for reserves.
“We have met and exceeded that in the last five years,” said Andra Cantrell, vice president for financial affairs.
“We have learned to stretch a dollar as far as it can, and we have dedicated employees who collaborate and cooperate to make it easier to continue to provide and service the needs of our students and community,” she said.
All this is to say that Wise County voters have picked a good partner with a record of financial integrity that will assure that Weatherford College/Wise County will be on sound financial footing for many years in the future.
That’s the kind of partner we can value.
Roy Eaton is publisher of the Wise County Messenger.