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Morning Sun
  • PSU president Steve Scott hosts open forum for PSU staff

  • In past years, Pittsburg State President Steve Scott has been the bearer of bad news when it came to the staff budget forum. This year, the talk of the budget was short, and the focus on legislative issues was long.

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  • In past years, Pittsburg State President Steve Scott has been the bearer of bad news when it came to the staff budget forum. This year, the talk of the budget was short, and the focus on legislative issues was long.
    “One thing we will not talk about today is about cuts. We’ll cut to the chase, but that’s a good place to start,” Scott said.
    Scott began his remarks by noting that the budget is mostly expected to remain flat for the coming fiscal year with a state block grant of $34,737,692.
    That does not include other “unfunded expenses,” such as certain staff salary commitments, an expected rise in health insurance premiums (expected to be 12.5 percent), emerging programs and utility increases.
    There has been some progress with state funding, namely in the area of deferred maintenance, which has helped put new windows, new roofs and new sidewalks throughout the campus.
    “We’ve made a lot of progress. But we’ve only addressed an estimated 19 percent of our deferred maintenance needs,” Scott said. “We’ve done about 44 percent of the steam tunnels and steam lines. We’ve made good progress.”
    Scott pointed out that the university’s funding has not kept up with inflation, running about $4.5 million below the Consumer Price Index.
    Those challenges aside, Scott also mentioned the success of the School of Construction and the plans in place for a polymer chemistry initiative.
    “We have a long history of founding careers, and building skills and building professions. We’re doing a great job doing that over time. People are looking to PSU, saying, ‘You’ve always done this.’ Others are looking at us, saying, ‘This is what we need to be doing,’ and you’ve already been doing it,” Scott told the faculty and staff in attendance.
    The talk swung to plans and priorities in the political arena, including bills, major reforms and initiatives. Those areas of emphasis include state revenues, the governor’s budget, tax reform, KPERS reform, school finance reform, redistricting and the fact that 2012 is an election year.
    Scott and Director of Government and Community Relations Shawn Naccarato held a short question-and-answer session at the end of the presentation.
    Ultimately, Scott said that PSU is in a better position than many of its peers and neighbors.
    “I have a lot of colleagues that would die for a flat allocation from their governor,” Scott said. “Our state has made the right decisions on the stimulus money. Missouri didn’t. Kansas didn’t put that into our ongoing revenue, but put it into one-time expenditures.”
    Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.
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