By Chelsi Baker
Times West Virginian
With potential budget cuts looming, the Fairmont State University Budget Oversight Committee has been meeting weekly to find ways to stay on budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Proposed budget cuts from Charleston were discussed at last week’s FSU Board of Governors meeting, along with ways to handle the cuts once the budget is finalized.
“The university is looking at every way to meet its budget, including not filling vacant positions and urging energy-saving measures as simple as making sure computers are turned off when not in use,” said Ann Booth, vice president of University Communications. “Every budget manager has made cuts to their respective areas.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s proposed budget will come with a 3.75 percent cut as of right now and is part of his Fiscal Year 2015 budget recommendation, but it won’t be finalized until the legislative session concludes.
Along with the cut, Tomblin has proposed a mandatory pay raise of $504 per person to be internally absorbed by institutions, Booth said. Fairmont State will also be charged $200 for each full-time equivalent employee to use the new Oasis system. They are undergoing thorough training and other preparations for Oasis, which will be fully implemented and running by January 2015.
Oasis is a statewide system that handles human resource management that will be implemented by all state agencies in the next year. The program provides consultation that keeps businesses up to date with technology and training, and it maintains compliance with federal and state employment laws for its clients.
FSU president Dr. Maria Rose said the new funding provided to cover these changes will be only half of what is needed to pay for Oasis and to grant the required pay raises.
Financial aid and other things directly impacting students are not affected by the steps taken to save money, Booth said.
The Fairmont State Foundation is looking for ways to increase scholarship donations, and the university is applying for grants to ensure student aid is not hindered. They are simply figuring out ways to do their services with less money and with as little impact on students as possible, she explained.
“The university is very grateful that our legislators recognize the impact the severe budget cuts have on our students,” Rose said. “We know they are working hard to minimize the cuts’ impact on higher education.”
Email Chelsi Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.