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College foundation to operate under new guidelines

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

MUSCLE SHOALS — A two-year college foundation that operated without the knowledge of its governing body is getting a clarification of purpose.

The state Board of Education approved a new college-related foundations policy Thursday at its meeting at Northwest Shoals Community College.

Chancellor Bradley Byrne said the policy became necessary when he discovered the existence of the Alabama College System Foundation after he became chancellor of the state's two-year college system in May. He said he wasn't aware of the foundation's existence when he was on the state school board for eight years, and several other board members said they also weren't aware of it.

This state foundation is not the same as the foundations individual colleges have, like the Calhoun Community College Foundation.

The new policy does, however, govern both the state foundation and the colleges' foundations, including the requirement of a contractual or formal agreement that describes the relationship between the educational institution and the foundation, and the liability associated with the relationship.

Along general operating procedures for foundations, the policy prohibits conflicts of interest and dual employment between the foundation and its campus or other state entity, and sets a minimum frequency of meetings.

Calhoun President Marilyn Beck led the committee that studied foundation regulations in other states and came up with proposals.

There is some cloudiness as to what the state foundation's purpose was. Byrne said it took 10 days to go through two separate sets of records, but auditors accounted for $400,000 that was once thought to be missing. The foundations now will be subject to internal audits by the college system.

Originally, the state foundation's purpose was to provide scholarships and grants, recognition of arts students and recognition of employees. Byrne said the foundation now would provide scholarships for students who make the Alabama All-Academic Team.

Byrne said current foundation board members, which include himself, state school board Vice President David Byers Jr., State Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, George Clark and Donald Crump, will continue running the foundation.

He said he would use chancellor's discretionary funds to recognize art students and employees.

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