Cal U finishes year with slight surplus, challenges remain, interim president says
Just a year since she took the helm at California University of Pennsylvania, interim President Geraldine M. Jones on Thursday announced the school has erased an $11.8 million deficit and ended the 2012-13 fiscal year with a surplus.
Jones said it marks the first time in five years the university has ended the year with a balanced budget.
Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd at the university's faculty and staff convocation, Jones said she is rescinding a retrenchment letter sent to faculty this year and invited the university community to participate in a workforce development plan she hopes to finalize by the end of the semester.
The plan will reallocate staff and resources to “programs students want and need.”
Over the last year, Jones said, the university reduced discretionary spending, shortened its lease at the Southpointe complex in Washington County and cut costs by leaving vacancies unfilled and furloughing managers, among other measures.
The university's enrollment declined by more than 9 percent last year and it's facing a preliminary decline of 3.86 percent this year, so it still faces challenges, she said. Freshman enrollment, which has yet to reach 2011 levels, is another positive indicator. It rose 26 percent this year, she said.
“To secure Cal U's future, we must align payroll, programs and services with resources,” she said, adding that faculty reductions would be a last resort.
Jones, who spent four decades at the university before being named interim president, “hit a home run,” said Michael Slavin, president of the university's faculty union.
“She met my challenge to focus on academics,” Slavin said. “I expect big things. I see her on the right track.”
Matt Stonebrook, 20, of Murrysville, a junior, said he knew things were not looking good when Jones took over as president.
“To erase the deficit that quickly, it seems like she's doing a good job,” he said.
Just how long Jones will remain in office is unclear. She was named interim president last spring after the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education fired former President Angelo Armenti in May 2012.
The State System Board of Governors has yet to form a search committee to seek a permanent replacement for Armenti.
Asked whether she would take the job on a permanent basis, Jones said she would.
One day after Armenti was fired, the State System, which oversees California and 13 other state-owned universities, issued an audit highly critical of the school's financial practices, many relating to the $59 million convocation center.
The school this week severed its five-year contract with the convocation center's manager, saying the move would save $300,000 this year.
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Crosby, Malkin didn’t sign on for this
- Penguins’ Malkin: ‘We’re not a championship team’
- Cole shuts down Diamondbacks as Pirates open road trip with victory
- Penguins eliminated with Game 5 overtime loss to Rangers
- First Amendment experts decry Plum authorities’ warning to students
- Fleury valiant in defeat
- All Pennsylvanians to pay more, GOP gleans from report on Wolf’s tax plan
- Pittsburgh man identified as Manchester shooting victim
- 2 Hempfield Area students charged with sexting
- Rangers’ defensive plan against Penguins was unwavering
- Pitt introduces Barnes as athletic director