JOPLIN, Mo. —
Faculty and staff members at Missouri Southern State University will soon see a raise in their salaries.
The Board of Governors on Thursday approved a 3 percent pay increase for eligible employees. It will take effect Sunday, which is the beginning of the university’s fiscal year.
“This is a way for us to speak on behalf of the community, and say to this campus that we recognize the hard work that’s done by the faculty and staff,” Sherry Buchanan, chairwoman of the board, said after the meeting.
Linda Hand, president of the faculty senate and a professor in the math department, said the feeling among faculty and staff members was likely to be one of happiness.
“We know it was the right thing to do, especially with the staff,” she said after the meeting. “It’s across campus — everybody breathed a sigh of relief. It’s not really just the money. It’s an affirmation of our work to the campus.”
The salary increase, the first for MSSU employees in more than four years, will cost about $923,000, according to figures from MSSU’s business office.
It will be funded by an additional $1.8 million that was appropriated to the university last week in a version of the fiscal 2013 state budget signed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Board members in May approved a $72.4 million budget that had anticipated a $1.7 million reduction in state funds. They had repeatedly said that a pay raise for faculty and staff members was their top priority, but the budget did not include a raise because of financial concerns.
On Thursday, the board approved an updated budget — with the extra funds from the state — that projects total revenues for fiscal 2013 at $74.2 million and total expenditures at $73.4 million.
“It’s been a big relief (to approve the salary increase) because the decisions we had to make earlier in the spring were really difficult,” Buchanan said. “It was a wonderful relief when we got the phone call saying, ‘Hey, you’re going to have more money to allocate.’”
Also approved Thursday was a motion to fully fund previously awarded faculty promotions during the upcoming fiscal year. The board originally had planned to phase in promotions over the course of three years because of budget constraints.
“We’re especially pleased about the promotion pay being reinstated,” Hand said.
MSSU’S PAYROLL BUDGET, including benefits, is $38.67 million and represents just over half of the school’s budgeted expenditures for the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to the business office.