Linn State regents extend president's contract

LINN, Mo. -- Don Claycomb will remain Linn State Technical College’s president at least through June 2016.

The school’s regents on Friday extended Claycomb’s contract for another year, during a closed session at the end of their open meeting on the college campus, just east of Linn.

Claycomb said in a telephone interview he accepted the contract extension “with gratitude.”

“It’s still a challenge,” he explained. “It’s exciting times, and it’s a fun challenge. I have backed out three times — and one of the board members said it’s four times — on retiring.

“I’m 72, and the job is still a fun job, and it’s very exciting — and very, very rewarding.”

The contract extension didn’t change his salary.

Claycomb, who now makes $178,468 a year, said the regents usually discuss potential salary changes when they act on the budget later in the year.

Regents also approved a “mission statement” and “mission package,” effective July 1 when the school’s name changes to State Technical College of Missouri.

Lawmakers authorized the name change last year to “better reflect” the school’s statewide mission.

But Claycomb said the biggest change in the statement was “to clarify that profitable employment could also be seen as employment in entrepreneurship, as opposed to employment in only working for another individual.”

Helping graduates find work always has been the school’s goal, since the Linn R-2 School District launched Linn Technical College as a junior college in 1961, with help from a federal grant.

Linn Tech became a state-owned school in 1996, and its mission includes preparing “students for profitable employment and a life of learning.” Its faculty and administration work to help every graduate find a job.

Linn State’s regents made an adjustment in the general education requirements for earning an associate of applied science degree from the school.

“It did not change anything, other than to allow a course related to the medical field as a science course, as opposed to having (just) physics, environmental science and those kinds of things,” Claycomb said, since the school now offers four medical programs.

By state law, the AAS is the only degree Linn State may offer.

“We are prohibited from granting the Associate of Arts” degree, he said, noting that separates Linn State’s statewide technical college mission from the work done by the 20 community college programs around Missouri.

“We also grant some certificates” for specialized courses, he added, “which may range from one semester to one year to two years,” and still don’t conflict with the other two-year schools’ programs.

Jo Moore of Evers and Co. presented Linn State’s annual audit.

“We have had a clean audit for a number of years and, I think, that is a testament to the business managers that we have had, to keep things afloat and to maintain a clean audit,” Claycomb said. “We’re pretty much sticklers on wanting it to always be that way.”

Linn State’s current financial report also shows the school to be in good shape, Jeff Fletcher reported.

But, Claycomb added: “With state appropriation percentage of support not increasing at the same level as is our expenses, we have some challenges ahead.”

Solutions to that problem, he said, include getting more students and, “also, looking more at external funding,” such as grants.

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