WVU-P Board of Governors discusses budget for 2013-14

PARKERSBURG – West Virginia University at Parkersburg Board of Governors approved its budget for the 2013-14 year Wednesday evening while also giving a salary adjustment to longtime employees.

The Board of Governors met at the school’s theater for the last time in the 2012-13 year and covered agenda items.

The board approved a $20.7 million budget for the next fiscal year, which officials said was $239,000 lower than the budget the school was operating on this year.

WVU-P President Marie Foster Gnage said the college had to deal with a 7.5 percent reduction in support from the state.

Gnage credited local lawmakers with being able to secure around $200,000 in additional funding to help out; WVU-P added this to an expected tuition increase.

Tuition for next year will increase by nine percent.

“When you add it all up together, it still did not make up for the 7.5 percent reduction (in state funding) simply because we expect a decrease in enrollment,” she said. “When you add it all up, when we get to our budget, it is about $240,000 less than what we were operating with last year.”

The school will try to make up the shortfall with grants and other funding that could be available, Gnage said.

“In essence, we will be working within that number,” she said. “We will be fine.”

The tuition increase is expected to amount to $100-$200 a year, Gnage said. The nine percent at other schools could be as much as $300-$500, she said.

“We like to tell the student the dollar amount so they know what to plan for,” she said.

Gnage led a task group, made up of four to five employees, to look at the people who were beyond the staff salary schedule. Employees who have been there for more than 15 years are off the schedule.

With legislative action pending in addressing these issues, the group came up with a plan.

“What we wanted to do was make an immediate adjustment that could fit into the long-term recognizing some of these people have been here for over 35 years or so,” Gnage said. “What they accepted was if anyone was 15-plus years, let’s give them a $500 adjustment to their salary.”

It is a one-time adjustment, she said, that goes into effect when someone else comes up and reaches that 15-year line, as of July 1 of next year. When the new legislation goes into effect, this will stop and everyone will follow the new schedule laid out in the new law.

The board approved officers for the upcoming year with Gerard El Chaar as chairman, Joe Campbell as vice chairman and Cheryl Donohoe as secretary. The new officers will take over at the next meeting on Aug. 14.