Category Archives: Sopcich

#JCCC: Reports Leading to Lockdown Unsubstantiated, Uncorroborated

Posted by the President’s Office to the Johnson County Community College electronic mail server, Infolist:

From: InfoList
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:09 AM
To: InfoList
Subject: [infolist] A Message from Joe Sopcich

Dear Colleagues,

A few weeks ago the college endured its first – and we hope its only – lockdown experience.  Our campus community handled the situation in exemplary fashion. Nevertheless, in the days since the situation occurred, several areas have held debriefings to go over what our strengths were and what we could do to improve. This has proven a tremendous learning experience for all of us.

The JCCC Police department has closed its investigation of the matter, concluding that the two reports of a person with a weapon on campus on Sept. 4, 2014, did not corroborate each other and neither could be substantiated.

As I said in my initial message to you all, I am very grateful for the safe resolution of the situation and the quick, calm actions of JCCC Police, Emergency Preparedness, faculty, staff and students. We are also grateful to the commanders, police officers and officials from Overland Park Police, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson County Park Police, the Kansas Highway Patrol, Johnson County Fire Department and Med-Act, who arrived on campus and assisted in keeping our campus safe.

We learned that our training paid off. We also saw where we could make improvements – for example, how the installation of classroom phones that function as extended public address systems will reinforce messages sent on the public address systems in the hallways. That effort was already underway and should be completed in January.

Our common goal is to make the JCCC campus community the safest learning environment possible.  This experience will help us achieve that goal.  We appreciate all you do to keep our community safe.




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#JCCC President Speaks of Lockdown

Posted to the Johnson County Community College electronic mail server, Infolist:

From: InfoList
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2014 7:23 AM
To: InfoList
Subject: [infolist] A message from Joe Sopcich

To members of our campus community,

Yesterday we experienced our college’s first “lockdown” situation. Rest assured it was not a drill. It was an alarming and sobering experience. As you know from our alerts, we had reports of a weapon on campus. Please know that our police force takes such reports with extreme seriousness. We are all fortunate that they do. Their challenge is always to verify the reports before we take action. The margin for error is non-existent. In this case, as we will in all cases, our decisions were based on what is the safest approach possible for our campus community. Ultimately, in this case, the first alert was sent out at 3:40 p.m. and was followed by seven additional alerts. The outcome of this situation was a good one, and the room-by-room search was lifted with the final alert sent at 7:05 p.m.

We would like to thank everyone on campus for their calmness and clear-headedness. We are proud of the way our JCCC Police Force responded to the initial report. Their performance reassures us that we’re in good hands. Our emergency preparedness group was on top of it all and proved excellent. Additionally, we got reports that, throughout the college, people were following their ALICE training and doing what they needed to do to ensure the safety of our students and colleagues. Lastly, members of our leadership team assumed their pre-assigned responsibilities and performed them admirably. We’d also like to thank the Overland Park Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, the Kansas Highway Patrol and MedAct for their professionalism and quick deployment on campus. We are fortunate to live in a community blessed with such professional law enforcement.

As we all know, security on our campus is of paramount importance to us all. This experience proved to be a learning opportunity for everyone involved. We will now set out to evaluate our performance and identify ways we can make it better. Lastly, and again, special thanks go to everyone on campus for handling this situation so well.




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Filed under Infolist, JCCC, NEWS, Sopcich

Closures, Consolidations, Changes Coming to JCCC

Posted today to the Johnson County Community College electronic mail server, Infolist:

From: InfoList
Sent: Friday, January 24, 2014 9:41 AM
To: InfoList
Subject: [infolist] A message from Joe Sopcich

January 24, 2014

As you well know, for the past few months we have been engaged in a thorough review of college programs and budgets. Since we launched these program review initiatives, the general response has been positive and constructive. While there were those who expressed their reservations, in various formats, I was encouraged over the months by the direct feedback I received as to how this type of initiative was necessary and overdue. In fact, it has been inspiring to see how people have rallied and tried to do the best job possible in a very short time frame. I can’t thank you enough for your efforts.

As part of the process during the fall semester, a Budget Review Team (BRT), representing all areas of the college, was formed to provide input. The BRT was something new for JCCC and was launched quickly and with little fanfare. I’ll be the first to say that we have much room for improvement in the future; nevertheless, we gave it our best shot and will continue to enhance the process. The thoughts the team shared reveal some themes that we need to consider. You can see that list here.

Editor’s Note: The document is password protected. It is document, “Input from the Budget Discussion Team,” which can be found here.

Originally, our goal was to cut at least $3 million in salaries and benefits from the college’s budget next year. However, as we gave our five-year budget projections another look, we felt our original projections were too optimistic. For example, revenues this year will be down as a result of the decline in enrollment, and we are no longer assured that we will be able to see an increase in state aid next year. Our projections calling for annual increases in enrollment and state aid were overly optimistic and unrealistic. Therefore, to keep the college sustainable for the future, it is in our best interest to eliminate a little more than $3 million this year and continue to review our programs and processes each year to make sure we are functioning as efficiently as possible.

Budget Actions
The budget actions to be taken for the upcoming fiscal year are outlined in three levels:

Continue reading

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Filed under budget, Infolist, InfoShare, JCCC, Kansas, NEWS, Sopcich, sustainability, Trustees

JCCC Faculty Senate Rejects Budget Process

JCCC President Joe Sopcich told the Faculty Senate the campus can expect a communique on Jan 24 concerning JCCC’s long-awaited budget decisions.

According to the Dec. 12 JCCC Faculty Senate Minutes “… a message will be sent that will itemize what will happen with regards to budget concerns and notifications.”

Sopchic and the Board of Trustees will continue to look at retirements and vacated positions and “will ask departments affected to fill-in the workload with existing personnel.”

Joe Sopcich shared some specifics:

  • JCCC has experienced a 6th semester decline in enrollment; below 2006.
  • JCCC has dipped into reserves 5 years straight; state funding is questionable.
  • JCCC is pending results of a lawsuit that will affect higher education; 1.5% cut or $300,000 to JCCC.
  • We need a five-year plan based on an optimistic projection in light of the property tax decline we have experienced.
  • We are facing more competition than ever from area institutions and online options that students have at their fingertips.
  • Recruiting will be a focus in spring 2014; if there is a market, we need to fill it.

The senate’s Budget Discussion Team voiced dissatisfaction with an administration document saying “Suggestions from faculty were solicited and compiled in a list which was unsourced and unaccredited.”

The Faculty Senate approved the following statement:

“The faculty senate rejects the validity of the process by which the document titled ‘Input from the budget discussion team’ was developed due to the lack of transparency in the process and the discrepancies between data gathered and that presented.”

However the senate declined to distribute the statement noting it could adversely affect morale and cause division among faculty.

The minuets also acknowledged the senate’s failure to distribute a statement that calls for transparency.

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Filed under budget, JCCC, Kansas, NEWS, Sopcich, Trustees

JCCC to Cut $3M in Salary, Benefits

Johnson County Community College President Joseph Sopcich released a statement (below) to the campus addressing the college’s budget shortfall and impending cuts. The college will also raise tuition.

Follow the Campus Ledger’s reporting on the budget process.


Posted December 17, 2013 on the Johnson County Community College electronic mail server, Infolist:

From: InfoList
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 3:31 PM
To: InfoList
Subject: [infolist] A message from Joe Sopcich

As part of the budget process, we have been conducting an extensive review of college departments, programs and activities. A Budget Review Team with representatives from across the college was formed to provide input. The suggestions they shared revealed some themes that we will consider further.

Although we are not yet through with the budget process, we have determined that the majority of the $3 million in savings required from salary and benefits can be accomplished through normal attrition. Not filling positions vacated through resignations or retirements will require remaining employees to pick up additional responsibilities as departments figure out how to consolidate or eliminate the tasks and projects the vacated positions would have handled.

We are still continuing to review programs, functions and activities to meet the long-term goals of continuous improvement and enhancing operating efficiencies. As a result, identification of additional cuts, consolidation of efforts or reorganization will be part of an ongoing improvement process.


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Filed under budget, Infolist, JCCC, Kansas, NEWS, Sopcich, Trustees

Employees Point Fingers in JCCC Budget Battle

Just before the winter break, an email sent by JCCC’s Budget Discussion Team revealed that the campus has a whole lot of grinches in its midst.

pointing fingers

The budget update posted to the Faculty Association listserv, JCCFA, compiled suggestions on areas the college should consider when making budget decisions in later this month.

“Attached is the compilation of all of the feedback received by faculty, administrators, and staff, about where cuts could be made,” the email read. “This document was given to our team this week. Hopefully everyone who contributed material to me will see something in the list that looks like a summary of your comments.”

Suggestions include eliminating: librarians, selected sports, and entire programs like cosmetology. Employees also want to outsource everything from Human Resources to the police department. They recommend closing JCCC’s off campus sites, and even selling college acreage. Administrators did not escape the proposed budget ax either. Employees advise cutting the administration’s numbers and salaries.

“My take so far:  everyone had the opportunity to sound off, and many were glad to point fingers at others.  So the document is sometimes hard to digest (someone really thought that???).  We can only hope that those who are making the decisions (not our team) will be able to separate the good stuff from the completely inappropriate.”

The email also said the Budget Discussion Team will no longer have any further input into the process.

“Our only remaining meeting is to hear the results in late January.”

The attachment, in PDF, cut and pasted:

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Filed under budget, JCCC, Kansas, NEWS, Sopcich, sustainability, Trustees

JCCC Budget Priorities: Increase Tuition, Reduce Salaries

Posted to the Johnson County Community College electronic mail server, Infolist:

From: InfoList
Sent: Thursday, November 07, 2013 10:01 AM
To: InfoList
Subject: [infolist] A message from Joe Sopcich

As you know, we have several goals we need to accomplish this year with the budget to ensure that JCCC remains financially healthy. These goals are to:

  1.  Stabilize the college’s reserves at $21-$23 million, or no less than 16% of our annual operating budget to allow for two months of operations should a crisis occur.
  2. Begin working toward the goal of stabilizing the college’s capital budget at $10 million and replenish the capital operating fund so we can maintain our facilities at a level that serves our students. This is anticipated to take five years.
  3. Set our salaries and benefits at a level we can sustain for the foreseeable future. 

For us to accomplish these goals, we need to do two things:

  1.  Implement a plan for tuition rates that is consistent and informs students years in advance of what we’re going to charge so they can plan accordingly. We have proposed to the trustees a $3 a year tuition increase over the next five years. This means that by fiscal year 2018-2019, one credit hour will cost $100.
  2.  Reduce the salary budget by at least $3 million. This summer we took steps that reduced the salary budget by $700,000. That leaves us another $2.3 million in cuts to consider. 

To accomplish this second objective, we are taking a close look at all programs of the college. Each program, be it an academic program or a support area, has been asked to evaluate its performance and contribution to the college, based on a variety of criteria, such as cost of the program, enrollment, enrollment trends and growth potential. Support areas will look at volume of work/projects, cost to deliver such volume and redundancies in service.

Again this year we will be following the PBS (Prioritizing the Budget Strategically) process, in which we ask that all expense lines are justified.  The budgeting process will get underway this month, following this timeline:  Continue reading

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