Board Approves Budget, Capital Outlay Request
The NMU Board of Trustees today approved a 2007-08 operating budget request and a capital outlay project request. Public universities are required to submit both to the state on an annual basis.
Northern’s current operating budget is $105 million. The requested increase of $5.1 million reflects the amount necessary to maintain current operations and to counter rising costs associated with such items as state-mandated contributions to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS), additional faculty positions, long-term facilities maintenance, internationalization efforts and contracted compensation adjustments. It also factors in additional tuition revenue based on a projected 2 percent enrollment increase.
The capital outlay request is part of NMU’s rolling five-year master plan submitted to the state. It identifies four priority projects: a new combined heat and power cogeneration plant, estimated to cost about $50 million; renovations to the Cohodas Hall (formerly Cohodas Administrative Center), $16 million; an academic facilities upgrade project involving Forest Roberts Theatre, the McClintock Building, Jamrich Hall and the Physical Education Instructional Facility (PEIF), $12.5 million; and renovations and an addition to the Learning Resource Center, $58 million.
“The operating budget increase and capital outlay project requests represent the very first steps in the budget planning process for fiscal year 2008,” said Gavin Leach (Finance and Planning).
The board held a focus discussion, but took no action, on long-term tuition guidelines developed by Trustee Doug Roberts. He proposed a consistent rationale that the NMU board could use in setting tuition each year to more effectively position the university with the legislature and public.
"Our position could be this: We'll run this institution on the rate of inflation plus 1 percent," Roberts said. "If the state appropriation isn't equal to inflation plus 1 percent, we'll have to adjust tuition accordingly. We can say, 'We're not wild spenders here. We'll hold our end and it will be up to the state legislature to hold its end.' I'm just trying to get the university in front of what I think, unfortunately, is going to happen. And that's getting less money from the state."
The board took the following action at the meeting:
•Approved an executive committee recommendation that NMU President Les Wong receive an incentive of $7,500 for his progress in achieving previously defined goals. The terms of Wong’s contract made him eligible for an incentive of up to $10,000 this year. The defined goals related to internationalization and the Superior Edge initiatives, enrollment and retention, fiscal-year equated student (FYES) appropriation in relation to peer institutions, and revenue enhancement through fundraising and grants.
•Elected new officers for the 2007 calendar year. Mary Lukens of Ann Arbor will serve as chair of the board and Doug Roberts of East Lansing will serve as vice chair.
•Accepted more than $125,000 in gifts and nearly $2.8 million in external grants.
•Voted to change the name of the Cohodas Administrative Center to Cohodas Hall to reflect its increasing academic occupancy.
•Appointed the following as public school academy board members: Kenneth Dunton at Bahweting Anishnabe; Arthur Bone and Shannon Tolbert at Burton Glen; and Martha Parks at North Star. Trustees also approved the following appointments to the Nah Tah Wahsh board, pending the outcome of a legal ruling related to eligibility criteria: Mary Little-Winberg, Sharon Philemon, William Sagataw and Marilyn Shawano.