The Synod’s Board of Directors (Board) says it wants to hear from presidents of LCMS colleges and universities about a proposal from the Board for University Education (BUE) to test an “RSO governance model” for the 10 schools that would “separate” one of the schools from the Synod and “reconnect it” via that model.
Although the BUE asked the Board to approve such a proposal, using Concordia University, Portland, Ore., in that test, the Board passed a resolution at its Aug. 19-20 meeting in St. Louis to postpone the matter until its next meeting, scheduled for November, to “allow time” to hear from presidents.
Basically, under the current governance, the schools are owned and operated by the Synod.
Bylaw 6.2.1 of the Synod says that “the granting of recognized service organization status by the Synod signifies that a service organization, while independent of the Synod, fosters the mission and ministry of the church, engages in program activity that is in harmony with the programs of the boards of the Synod, and respects and does not act contrary to the doctrine and practice of the Synod.”
Dr. William F. Meyer, the BUE’s interim executive director, explained in a memorandum accompanying a detailed description of the RSO governance model to the Board of Directors that the BUE adopted the proposal at its May meeting for testing its effectiveness for the next five years.
Meyer made three points: “1) The BUE [is searching] for a way to strengthen the colleges/ universities in the Concordia University System; 2) election of Board of Regents members who have few or no qualifications to govern a complex educational institution do not provide the expertise to strengthen the institution; and 3) attempts to modify the governance model at synodical conventions [have] failed in the past three conventions.”
“While the BUE Board wishes there [were] other approaches to revise the governance model without moving in the direction of ‘separating an institution and reconnecting it via the RSO model,’” Meyer wrote, “the Synod’s Board of Directors are well aware our synodical Bylaws do not offer ‘options’ for a board, especially in this case the BUE board, with latitude to do what needs doing in order to strengthen the governance of our educational institutions.”
In discussion of the proposal with other BUE representatives, several Board members questioned the approach, noting the need to talk with college presidents, and questioning whether such proposals should be decided by anyone other than a Synod convention.
Although Concordia, Portland’s, president, Dr. Charles Schlimpert, was on hand earlier Aug. 19 for the Board meeting, travel plans prevented his being there by the time the Board could hear from the BUE representatives.
In another resolution, the Board asked Secretary Raymond Hartwig to write a letter thanking Concordia Publishing House (CPH) for the recent gift of $253,000 to the Synod.
CPH Interim President Paul T. McCain announced the gift in a June 24 memo in which he said CPH finished its last fiscal year “strongly in the black, ahead of plan, both in top-line sales and bottom-line income.”
“There has been a tremendous turnaround at CPH,” Dr. Thomas Kuchta, the Synod’s vice president-finance/treasurer, told the Board – “in process improvement, inventory control, elimination of unprofitable lines, closer monitoring of accounts, and improvements in productivity.”
The Board approved $100,000 from the contingency fund to assure continuation of the Synod’s “Point of Truth” television program.
In action regarding funds for Synod schools, the Board:
- affirmed the BUE’s approval of a bond issue of up to $7.4 million for construction of a 144-bed apartment-style dormitory and remodeling of other dormitories at Concordia University, Seward, Neb.;
- approved a revised facilities master plan for Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, to undertake developing a capital campaign, primarily for a new library; and
- increased by $1 million the Board’s approval of $24 million in its May meeting for a bond issue at Concordia University, Irvine, Calif., for new construction there.
Board members elected Walter Brantz of Cody, Wyo., to fill a vacancy on the Synod Board of Directors, following the resignation of Ted Kober last spring. Brantz, a retired oil company executive, is a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cody, and has been treasurer of the LCMS Wyoming District for a number of years.
In other action, the Board elected Rev. Peter Cage of Muncie, Ind., to fill a vacancy on the Concordia Publishing House Board of Directors.
It also reappointed Dr. LuJuana Butts of Tuckahoe, N.Y., and Joel Wilson, Weston, Conn., to new three-year terms on the Board of Managers of the Synod’s Worker Benefit Plans.
Posted Sept. 6, 2005