Murray State budget approved, raises and job cuts included

If you have a student at Murray State University, you may be relieved to know that the school has figured out how to work through an $8.6 million deficit in its budget for next year.

Friday, the MSU Board of Regents passed some cuts that will keep the university afloat.

The 4.5 percent tuition increase helped. That gave it about $2.7 million. The biggest difference was made up from cuts to various departments, totaling about $4.4 million. That led to a few job cuts.

That is after Murray State got a 4.5 percent annual cut to state money. MSU President Bob Davies says he still believes the university had no fat to trim in its spending, but he had to make sure to keep the essential positions and programs funded.

"Most of those (jobs lost) were vacant positions, but those are still positions that a person could have been in, so it is an economic loss. It is a loss to our institution. Twelve of those positions had people in them, and those are always very difficult, because you’re dealing with members of our community," Davies told me. 

The board of regents also approved a 4.5 percent increase in housing rates. That helps give about $300,000 more to make up for the deficit.

Although MSU had to eliminate 35 job postings and release 12, many employees will get a raise.

Davies says the campus is morally obligated to not pay any employee any less than $10.10 an hour. Despite budget problems, he says MSU needed to change with the times. 

It’s all paid for in the new budget approved Friday. In the approved budget, $730,000 went to a 1 percent raise campus wide, and $1.3 million were allotted for new federal overtime regulations. Those regulations mean the campus will have to either bump some salaried employees up in pay, cut overtime hours, or just pay more. 

Joyce Gordon, director of human resources, says "for many employees it is a good thing, that maybe have not been paid overtime before. Those individuals will get overtime. Administratively, it’s challenging."

If you’re salaried at less than $47,476 and work overtime, the U.S. Department of Labor says you have to be paid for those hours. 

Gordon says no layoffs will be made because of the new regulations. The $1.3 million estimate should cover all employees who work overtime. 

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