FSCJ board chair wants full review

Chair says public's perception of school is negative

Published On: Jun 14 2012 04:55:56 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 15 2012 04:12:07 PM EDT

The chairman of the board at Florida State College at Jacksonville says he knows his school has looked bad in recent months.

In an effort to improve the public's perception, he's asked board members at FSCJ to hire an outside company to conduct a full institutional review.

Board chairman Jim McCollum says he's worried about losing public support and wants to prove that FSCJ is a quality institution.

He asked the board to hire an outside company to review the practices and procedures within the school.

The board will hold a workshop to decide what their options are. It will happen while an independent investigator, Bill Scheu, continues to look into the improper distribution of millions of dollars in federal Pell Grants.

McCollum said he wants everything reviewed, from the leadership of the school all the way down to students' performance.

"The more and more that goes on and the public sees negative things about the college, the more the general perception is going to be thought as negative," McCollum said at a meeting in which he asked the board to approve the outside institutional review.

The review, he said, is to determine if students are receiving the best education, to make sure the school is not wasting money and following the law.

"Someone just coming in, looking to see what we're doing, how we're doing it, where we might improve," McCollum said. "'Are you aware of best practices somewhere else. Are they doing it differently and it's really working well?' Those types of things."

The board voted to hold a workshop within a week to discuss the cost of such a review and what exactly will be scrutinized. Right now, the school is undergoing a two-year audit of Pell Grant loans, which were found to have been improperly given to hundreds of students.

"Bill Scheu is looking exclusively at financial aide," said Steve Bowers, FSCJ vice president of administrative services. "It's specifically the academic progress audit finding, which we now have to report to the United States Department of Education. So that's completely independent of this."

How much could this review cost taxpayers? The chair of the board has set the ceiling at $75,000.

The workshop will be held within a week. If they approve an external review, the goal is to get this review finished by Sept. 3.