Jay Box began his first day as president of the Kentucky Community & Technical College System on Friday, only the second person to lead the 87,000-student institution since the state’s community and technical colleges were merged in 1998.

“My vision for KCTCS is to be the students’ Dreamcatcher,” Box said in a news release. “I envision a future where all of our students’ dreams translate into communities with a college-educated work force, ready and able to fill the needs of local business and industry.”

At the board’s meeting Friday, Box, himself a community college graduate, received an employment contract that will pay him $345,000 a year and a $24,000 car allowance. He will not receive the deferred compensation, performance bonus or housing allowance that had boosted the total pay of his predecessor, Michael McCall, to more than $640,000 in 2013.

McCall was one of the highest-paid community college administrators in the country.

KCTCS consists of 16 colleges on 70 campuses throughout the state.

James McNair is a veteran investigative reporter who specializes in business and finance issues.