The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved a 2014-15 general fund operating budget of nearly $108 million, a 2.4 percent decrease from last year. Final carryover balances from the previous fiscal year will be applied upon completion of the annual audit in September.
“Budget reductions are necessary in large part because of the projected drop in enrollment and associated tuition revenue attributed to declining high school demographics,” said Gavin Leach, vice president for finance and administration.
Leach said there are also increased operational expenses. These including personnel contractual obligations, the state minimum-wage hike and rising costs associated with utilities, health care and maintenance and property liability insurance.
Michigan’s public universities received more state funding than last year and Northern will realize savings from its early retirement incentive program (ERIP) for faculty. But Leach said these aren’t enough to counter the loss of tuition revenue combined with rising expenses. Thirty-six NMU faculty members applied for the ERIP. Some of the savings from that program will be utilized as budget reductions or reinvested in key academic areas.
An executive committee report indicated that performance criteria are being developed for the incentive compensation portion of President Fritz Erickson’s two-year employment contract. Based on his ability to meet performance targets and other goals to be identified, Erickson would be eligible for additional incentive compensation beyond his yearly base salary of $220,000.
In other action at today’s meeting, the board:
▪Agreed to promote former interim president David Haynes to full professor upon his return to the faculty. Stephen Adamini cast the lone dissenting vote.
▪Accepted more than $12,000 in gifts of property to the university.
▪Approved the following public school academy board appointments/reappointments (terms expire June 30, 2017, unless otherwise indicated): Brooke Rizzo, Ginger Stratton and Regina Rolstone, JLK Bahweting Public School Academy; Rev. Mary Covington and Richard Vanderkarr, Burton Glen Public School Academy; Brandy Dona and Irma Martinez, Experiencia Preparatory Charter Academy; Mary Meshigaud, Gloria Wandahsega and James Wandahsega, Nah Tah Wahsh Public School Academy; Bruce Roberts, Ronald DeMarse and Roger Zappa, North Star Academy; Maria Carl and Anthony Colbert, Walton Public School Academy; Maurice Hopgood, Francis Reh Academy; and George Trapp and Ryan Heilman, George Crockett Academy.