Board of Regents set to hold Special Budget Approval Meeting Friday

Elliott Pratt

The Board of Regents will discuss, and most likely approve, WKUs 2013-2014 budget at a special budget approval meeting tomorrow in Mass Media and Technology Hall at 12:30 a.m.

The board will also hold a committee meeting at 8:30 prior to the budget approval.

Items up for approval during the finance and budget committee meeting are the approval of general receipts bonds and reimbursement resolution.

Faculty Regent Patti Minter said the item to approve the agency bonds for construction of the Honors College and international student services is one of several issues that could be of interest to the university community.

“That has tremendous financial implications for the university community and future budgets,” Minter said. “The debt service on that agency bond would be $1.1 million…when you consider the cut was a little over $2 million this year – certainly to add expenditure $1.1 million for something that is certainly a want but it’s not really a need. That’s certainly a big issue.”

Ann Mead, senior vice president for finance and administration, said the proposed budget historically hasn’t set well with every regent member.

“Budget reductions are never fun,” Mead said. “You have to assess what the impact is compared to an alternative and its impact and while not everyone can support everything on this list, generally it’s accepted.”

Mead emphasized that the wording in the proposed budget may be taken out of context when it comes to differentiating reduced funding from eliminating programs.

Programs like FaCET are being eliminated as a distinguished program, but faculty development at the university will be maintained through different entities.

Richard Miller, vice provost, said while FaCET itself is being cut, the university is looking for avenues to keep the same activities the program sponsored.

“The FaCET program as we currently know it is being cut,” Miller said. “That does not mean that faculty development activities that FaCET provided for in the past will be cut. There will be a reengineering of our faculty development efforts here on campus.”

Items on the agenda from the executive committee are revisions to the WKU mission statement, and the approval of addendum to the contracts of men’s basketball coach Ray Harper and women’s basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard.

While there are no raises across the board for faculty at WKU due to the budget cuts, Minter said the addendum of the athletic coach’s contracts could raise some concern.

“Given that the employees are not receiving any raises this year, one has to wonder about the message that sends to the rest of the university community,” Minter said. “All of these things do impact the budget so I think the university community has to look at the whole agenda, committees, and the budget and think about what this says about the universities priorities going forward.”

The Academic Affairs committee items consist of approvals of a Kitchen and Bath Undergraduate Certificate, consolidation of three university college academic units into the school of Professional studies, name change to The Graduate School, Create Center for Financial Success, and University Distinguished Professor Appointments.