Dec 26, 2015 | Comments 2
Congratulations and a tip of the hat are due to President Paul Kooistra of Erskine College & Seminary. When Erskine was placed on probation by SACS because of financial considerations, it was anticipated that Erskine would be on probation for at least two years. SACS’ auditors penalized Erskine for its history of excessive draws on the endowment in order to balance the books. As you recall, the Erskine administrators were required to demonstrate that they could operate the institution on budgets that did not exceed a 5% draw on the endowment. Last year, ignoring SACS’ instructions, Erskine operated on a 7% draw on the endowment, and, at the end of the year, in order to balance the books, the board passed a motion that allowed for “restricted” monies to be reclassified as “unrestricted” and transferred as income: thus balancing the books and showing a modest gain. The budget for this year is framed on a 5% draw on the endowment; however, it has yet to be demonstrated that the administration can operate Erskine within the boundaries of this year’s budget with its 5% draw on the endowment.
In the midst of questions being asked about financial practices by board members, while continuing to operate under the cloud of financial exigency, with the resignation of two influential board members in the last four months and with no explanations as to why forthcoming, with brewing uncertainty and instability regarding the seminary’s continuance, with many on the board and in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church questioning the wisdom of President Kooistra’s proposal for launching an expensive football program in Due West in two years, and with uncertainty as to whether the budget can be met in 2015/16, President Kooistra was able to talk the SACS people into removing the sanction of probation on Erskine.
Indeed, congratulations and a tip of the hat are due to President Kooistra. He is a magician! What else can he pull out of his hat?
These are my thoughts,
Charles W. Wilson
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