Texarkana College’s President Russell: ‘It Takes a Solid Team, Working Together’

James Henry Russell - President, Texarkana College

James Henry Russell – President, Texarkana College

Bowie County’s recently-appointed Financial Advisory Committee has made many recommendations to help “turn the ship around” in regards to the county’s finances, especially regarding the budget. They’ve used Texarkana College’s success as an example, so today I spoke with Texarkana College president James Henry Russell about an aspect that hasn’t received as much attention from the committee – financial reporting.

Last Monday, Bowie County Judge Sterling Lacy asked his son, Steve Lacy, an auditor with over 20 years experience in non-profit organizations, to make a presentation regarding widely varying reports from County Auditor William Tye on the cash available on October 1, 2013 (the first day of the new fiscal year). At the beginning of the year, Tye told Commissioners Court that the county had $2.2 million available. Seven months into the fiscal year, he reported that the county started the year with a negative balance of $667,000, and a month later he said the year began with a negative balance of $3.4 million.

Tye responded that the early numbers were estimates, and that the only time he can provide exact numbers is after the end of the fiscal year, when all revenue and expenses are accrued. Steve Lacy then told the Court that there is no way they could make accurate financial decisions each month without that information.

I remembered that President Russell had seen the presentation, so I asked him specifically about Texarkana College’s financial reporting. He explained that Kimberly Jones, TC’s Chief Financial Officer, formally presents a financial report each month, in public, to the Board of Directors. Russell said, “Monthly financials are critical to stay on track.”

I then asked Russell about the state of affairs at Texarkana College in general, and he said that the college indeed had made a turn-around, although there is still some progress to be made. He said:

We had to commit to putting policies and procedures in place so we could make sure what had happened in the past would not occur in the future. It takes a solid team, working together, to accomplish this, and that’s what we’ve become. We can never get comfortable with where we are and must always be diligent in watching the financial situation.  Years of hard work and great budgets can quickly disappear if controls and procedures are not in place.

Steve Oglesby

I want to foster a sense of community across the Four States Region, where we can get to know each other even though we might live 50 miles apart. I want to make sure the stories in each town are told, by the people that live there. That's Community Journalism, and you can be part of it.

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    9 thoughts on “Texarkana College’s President Russell: ‘It Takes a Solid Team, Working Together’

    1. Texarkana college success was to pick my pocket! $165.00 Thank You!
      My question: If the tax can be voted in, can it be voted out?

    2. Well it’s not hard to look better when you get a million dollars given to you by Ross Perot.

      And, then you turn around and expand your tax base. Bowie County can’t snag new tax payers like the college did.

      It is the citizens that live out in Bowie County who saved Texarkana college.

    3. They expanded their tax base. That is how they kept their doors open. Our standard of living is dropping and yet our taxes keep going up and up. Something has to give soon.

      • We don’t need that kind of help. Expanding the tax base isn’t an option since all of Bowie County is already being taxed for the county government. Raising taxes will drive away more people and business which will lower revenue in the long run. Unless we get the national problem solved, we are going to continue to struggle.

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