Washburn University Governance
Each of the nine members of the Washburn University Board of Regents has a fiduciary duty to safeguard the public trust by ensuring that these funds are optimally used to further the cause of higher education. Their responsibilities include appropriate oversight of administrative practices and budget development and compliance. The absence of an internal audit function reporting directly to the Board increases the risk that poor administrative practices will go undetected since the Board must rely on reports brought to it by a vested party, the University president.
2008 Letters to the Washburn University Board of Regents
- FY 08 Operating Results
- WU FY 09 Budget - Crisis or Not?
- Competitive Bidding at Washburn University - Fact or Fiction? - April 1, 2008
- Preliminary Comments - FY 09 Operating Budget - Fall 2008 Tuition Rate - January 30, 2008
The WU Board of Regents has received a preliminary, unaudited report showing Washburn University's operating results for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008. It's interesting to note that in spite of revenues falling short by $2.0 million, WU actually posted a $2.0 operating surplus. It's also interesting to note that scholarships exceeded the budgeted amount by over $1.0 million. It appears that the problem of over-awarding scholarships was underreported (pdf) earlier this year.
There are three easy places for Jerry Farley to shave $2.5 million from WU's operating budget - vacant positions, Washburn Transformational Experience, and the bloated, ineffective Information Technology Services department.
On March 21, 2008, the Washburn University Board of Regents approved a $97,213 contract with Xirrus, Inc for wireless network equipment for the residence halls. They also approved the administration's purchasing tactics that bypass the competitive bidding process.
In the absence of a meaningful internal audit function, the WU Board of Regents will continue to make decisions that jeopardize the welfare of Washburn University since their decisions are based upon inadequate and misleading information provided by the current administration.
2007 Letters to the Washburn University Board of Regents
- 1729 MacVicar - Washburn Endowment Association Renovation - February 27, 2007
- Washburn University Reserves - Debt Ratio Analysis - February 1, 2007
The renovation of 1729 MacVicar was approved as a "not to exceed" $2.0 million project to provide expanded space for the Washburn Endowment Association. Over $2.1 million had been spent or committed before the move took place.
It is time for the Board of Regents to obtain written, verifiable information from President Jerry Farley regarding the university reserves.
2007 Washburn University Board of Regents Meetings
- January 16, 2007 Finance Meeting Summary
The WU Board of Regents Finance Committee voted to recommend a 4% salary pool budget increase for FY 08. No action was taken on the proposed Athletics Conditioning Facility.
2006 Letters to the Washburn University Board of Regents
- FY-08 Salary Program - December 29, 2006
- FY05 Building Construction Fund Activity - April 12, 2006
- Proposed Fall 2006 Tuition Rate - January 12, 2006
- FY07 Faculty Salary Program - January 10, 2006
Although faculty salaries are used as justification to the students for escalating tuition costs, Washburn University's salary program continues to favor administrative personnel over faculty and other academic personnel.
In FY05, while faculty carefully managed their minimal operating expense budgets, the administration transferred over $11.8 million in operating funds and sales tax revenues to pay for the University's capital projects.
The Washburn University administration and the Board of Regents have begun deliberations that will set the tuition rate for Fall 2006. Will tuition rates be driven by the market or by operating costs?
FY07 budget priorities are currently being determined. It is time for the administration to match their dollars with their words and improve the balance of investment in the faculty with the investment in brick and mortar.
2006 Washburn University Board of Regents Meetings
- November 10, 2006 Meeting Summary
- September 22, 2006 Meeting Summary
- June 26, 2006 Special Board of Regents Meeting
- January 31, 2006 Finance Meeting Summary
- January 20, 2006 Meeting Summary
Absent from this agenda was acceptance of the university's annual FY06 financial audit report. The board approved air conditioning improvements for Mabee Library and a $107,000 allocation of funds from WEA.
Perhaps members of the Board of Regents should give more serious consideration to the list of disbursements that they are asked to review at each meeting.
On June 26, 2006, the Washburn University Board of Regents met and approved the sale of two properties for the College Hill Redevelopment Project. A $214,000 construction project was also awarded to Mohan Construction for renovation of the leased space at 1313 SW 21st for the technical trade functions of Facilities Services.
The Washburn University administration failed to adequately address its stated primary budget initiative - closing the gap between the national average faculty salary and the Washburn University average faculty salary.
The FY07 budget guidelines were to be presented to the board members. Contracts were awarded for renovation of the Washburn Endowment Association's new office space at 1729 MacVicar, for the renovation of 15 classrooms, for financial advisory services, and the upgrade of ADA door hardware in Morgan Hall.
2005 Letters to the Washburn University Board of Regents
- Can Washburn University Forego Sales Tax Revenues? - December 2, 2005
- Washburn University Board of Regents Meeting Agendas - November 12, 2005
- Washburn University Claims List - November 12,2005
- Washburn University Health Plan - September 12, 2005
- FY06 Public Budget Comments - July 20, 2005
- Use of Reserve Balances - May 27, 2005
Although the 0.65% countywide retailers' sales tax imposed by Washburn University on the taxpayers of Shawnee County is to "be used solely for the purpose of financing its operations", the Board of Regents passed a resolution pledging sales tax receipts from Heartland Park to support the Heartland Park expansion project for the life of the bonds issued for this specific project. A request has been made of the Attorney General to clarify the source of the authority for this action.
On November 11, 2005, the Board took action on an item that was not included on the agenda. A request has been made of Nancy Paul, chair of the Washburn University Board of Regents, to refrain from taking action on items not included on the agenda.
Although the November 11, 2005 board minutes do not reflect this fact, Mayor Bunten asked several questions of the Vice-President of Finance regarding specific expenditures in the list of claims (i.e. university check register) that is presented to the board for its approval at each meeting. For the most part, his questions were dismissed, with the suggestion that he call her office with specific questions.
If you teach summer school with no retirement benefits at Washburn University or have your family enrolled in their health plan, you may already be contributing to an"annual giving campaign." The health plan reserves are now close to $2.7 million, as reported by President Farley at the September 2005 Board of Regents Meeting, for a plan that was started in November, 2002.
2005 Washburn University Board of Regents Meetings
- November 11, 2005 Meeting Summary
- September 9, 2005 Meeting Summary
- May 13, 2005 Meeting Summary
More politics, than substance, the Board of Regents accepted the FY05 financial audit report and approved a new Wellness Program.
Trash won, classrooms lost. Health insurance premiums will remain at the same high rate that employees have been paying over the past several years. The WEA new office space has grown from a $1.5 million to a $1.8 million project and the Stoffer renovation and expansion project has been moved to the next stage.