Pratt Community College will offer a new training program for candidates for public office. The new training sessions will be offered free of charge as a public service to the community. No tuition will be charged for the course.


Pratt Community College will offer a new training program for candidates for public office. The new training sessions will be offered free of charge as a public service to the community. No tuition will be charged for the course.

The new course was presented to the Pratt Community College Board of Trustees at their regular monthly meeting Monday night at PCC.

The new course is just six hours long and will be given in three two-hour sessions, said PCC President William Wojciechowski.

Wojciechowski and Trustee Ken Van Blaricum will teach the course designed to give candidates for public service an insight to the requirements for public office.

“That’s the approach were taking,” Wojciechowski said

It is designed to benefit any one running for school boards, city or county offices or any other public office.

The classes will cover a number of relevant topics: Policy Governance Philosophy; Provisions of the Kansas Open Meetings Act; Provision of the Kansas Open Records Act; Public Finance; Commissions, Authorities, Auxiliary Enterprises; Rules for Bidding and Purchases; Conflicts of Interest; Tips on what Constitutes Good Boardsmanship.

Each of these areas will have in depth studies into topics related to competent public service.

The college hopes to offer the course prior to the filing deadline possibly before the holidays, Wojciechowski said.

The new courses are a response to the up coming elections that will have an impact on the operations at PCC. The new course is designed to help potential candidates understand the requirements of public service. Even people already in public service can benefit from the course.

While the new course will help potential candidates, testing PCC sophomores has revealed a possible need for help among students. For the first time, the Annual Learning Assessment Report revealed that tested PCC sophomores did not meet the reading benchmark that is the national mean, said Mike Westerhaus.

In the other areas of mathematics, critical thinking and writing PCC sophomores matched or surpassed the national mean.

The tested group did not miss the mean by much. The national mean is 60.4 and the tested PCC sophomores scored 59.7 for a difference of only 0.7. This is the first time PCC students have not matched or exceeded the national mean.

“We have always made the national mean,” Westerhaus said.

Even though the test scores didn’t reach the mean, the small score below the mean is not a serious concern.

“It’s not an alarming figure,” said PCC Trustee Ken Van Blaricum.

The college has always used the raw national mean without taking into consider the standard deviation. If the standard deviation is applied the range is 57 to 62 and PCC scores within the national mean range, said Jim Stratford, vice president for instruction.

The college has seen a decline in the reading ability of entering students. Students may be doing less reading or with electronic short cuts be developing changes in reading skills. Whatever the cause, PCC is taking action to help students improve their reading skills, Stratford said.

An ad hoc committee is examining the situation and will help determine what steps need to be taken to improve students reading scores.

One need is multiple measures on testing to better evaluate test scores. At this time, no corrective action has been set but the ad hoc committee is working on the matter.

“We need to evolve the process,” Westerhaus said. “We’re looking at the situation.”

If reading slips then writing tends to follow so the college is taking steps to improve reading scores.

“We want to stem the decline,” Westerhaus said.

While some students may need to improve reading skills numbers, the total number of students at PCC still remains above the 2009-2010 numbers. Total credit hours for the year are at 20,170 that are about 1,400 more than the previous year. Total semester credit hours are up eight percent and head count is up seven percent from last year.