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Board Approves 2008-09 Budget/Tuition, Grants ‘Emeritus’ Status

The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday approved a budget and established tuition and fees for 2008-09, granted “professor emeritus” status to a retired faculty member, welcomed a new board member and elected officers, and approved the roster for the Community Arts Center Board of Directors.

The board also endorsed a voluntary contribution to the city of Williamsport and authorized the college administration to purchase property at 1359 W. Third St.

The $91,282,491 operating budget for 2008-09 represents a 4.44-percent increase from 2007-08. The budget includes a 4.7-percent increase in tuition for in-state students in 2008-09 and reflects a $250,000 decrease in Penn College’s state appropriation.

Board of Directors' meeting summarized for college communityUnder the governor’s state budget proposal, Penn College will receive an appropriation of $12,659,000, which amounts to less than 14 percent of the college’s operating costs. The Legislature has not yet passed a budget for 2008-09. If the college receives additional funds from the final state budget, they will be used to restore cuts that were made to hold down tuition costs and balance the budget, college President Davie Jane Gilmour said. Board Chairman Robert E. Dunham added, “It certainly would be nice if the state would increase our appropriation.”

In other business, “professor emeritus” status was approved for Robert G. Bowers, retired professor of mathematics and the 2007 recipient of the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award. Bowers began his Penn College employment in 1966 as an assistant professor of mathematics. He retired following the 2006-07 academic year. “My hope is that I will be actively connected to this institution for the rest of my life,” he told the board.

Lynda Livingston, the board’s newest member, was welcomed to her first meeting. She succeeds Ronna M. Cassotis, the former vice chair of the board, who has retired.

The board re-elected Dunham as chairman, Joseph J. Doncsecz as treasurer and Gilmour as secretary. John M. Young was elected vice chair. Also continuing in their posts are Robert M. Fisher, assistant treasurer; and Valerie Baier, assistant secretary.

The approved Arts Center board consists of Gilmour, William J. Martin, Barry R. Stiger, Veronica M. Muzic and Robert M. Fisher. Alternates are Bowers, Suzanne T. Stopper and Ann Marie Phillips.

The board approved a voluntary contribution of $100,000 to the city of Williamsport for the 2008-09 fiscal year, along with $15,000 in tuition credit to city employees. The contribution, which began in 2005-06, is reconsidered annually by the board. Gilmour said she has met with Williamsport City Council and Mayor Gabriel Campana to discuss the contribution.

“Penn College thrives when the city of Williamsport thrives,” she said.

Authorization was given to the administration to purchase the former Fagnano’s Used Auto Parts and Truck Parts property at 1359 W. Third St. for $560,000, contingent upon various conditions being met. If the purchase is finalized, the front portion of the 8-acre property (bordering West Third Street) will be used for additional college parking, Gilmour said. The rear portion will be used for athletic fields. A sidewalk accessing the Rose Street Apartments student-housing complex is also planned.

Gilmour said discussions have taken place with the mayor and City Council regarding the college acquiring the site. She said the property would not have been attractive to developers for various reasons, and all agreed the college would be the appropriate entity to purchase the tract.

“I’m very pleased that the mayor and City Council have been so supportive,” she said.

It was announced that the Aug. 7 board meeting will be moved to 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 18 to accommodate a presentation on the Stage X Building Program by Benedict Dubbs, of Murray Associates Architects, P.C.

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