Trustees voting on 2015 budget

By Jackie Nevarez

The Board of Trustees is expected to review and approve the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 internal budget Thursday.

The Board of Trustees will meet 9 a.m. in Altgeld Hall, Room 315, to give its final approval for the FY 2015 budget, which plans for $426.5 million in operating revenue and $425.8 million in operating expenses for FY 2015, according to a Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee meeting agenda. The budget was unanimously voted to be presented to the BoT by the committee Aug. 28.

A decline of 700 students for fall 2014 enrollment, which would account for about $8 million in revenue loss according to a spring semester presentation by interim CFO Nancy Suttenfield, was planed into the FY 2015 budget. But, the enrollment decline was less than expected at 527 students.

NIU President Doug Baker said Wednesday he did not know if the lower-than-planned enrollment decline will create wiggle room in the budget due to the difference between revenue and student head count.

“… There’s a mix of in-state and out-of-state students and the revenue they bring, so we’ve got to work it through our models and actually count the revenue that came in,” Baker said. “I’m cautiously optimistic, but I don’t want to say yes until we actually look at the true revenues.”

Also on the BoT agenda are reviews and approvals for funding to replace the Grant Central roof, funding to update lab animal facilities and delegating the Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act implementation.

The roof replacement project for Grant Central, estimated at $812,000, will seek final approval after a unanimous vote by the Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee Aug. 28 to bring the plan to the trustees. Bill Nicklas, vice president of Operations and Community Relations, said the roof is “basically uninhabitable,” allowing water to enter the building when it rains, according to a Sept. 3 Northern Star article.

Trustees will also consider $850,000 in funding to update the university’s lab animal facilities in Montgomery Hall and the Psychology Building. Updates to the facilities would include heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act, which went in effect July 1, prohibits smoking on state-funded university campuses. The agenda states the trustees will review and approve the “delegation of authority to implement” the legislation.