Board of Trustees approves $547 million budget for 2014-2015 academic year

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    The TCU Board of Trustees approved a $547 million budget for next academic year, a 6.9 percent increase.

    The 5.5 percent tuition increase from last fall and other revenue increases, including an increase in endowment funding, will fund the larger budget, Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration, wrote in an email.

    “Increases help offer additional financial aid to students, to assist in the furtherance of the Academy of Tomorrow, and to maintain competitive compensation and benefits,” wrote Gutierrez.

    According to the university’s press release, this budget will support the next phase in the Vision in Action: Academy of Tomorrow, which includes the areas of academic profile and reputation, size and balance and campus environment.

    Gutierrez said some of the more visible goals of the budget will be the formation of the Great Problem Themes curriculum, expanded use of ePortfolios by students, faculty and staff compensation and benefits support and the creation of three new partially endowed faculty positions.

    The Great Problem Themes will focus the university’s curriculum on a new issue such as water, food, energy or time.

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said he thinks one of the best aspects of the new budget was the room to hire new faculty and staff.

    “It guarantees that low student-to-faculty ratio that we want to keep, and new staff ensures services outside of the classroom that are a big part of TCU,” he said.

    The budget also provides a 3 percent merit pool for faculty and staff, which Gutierrez said provides as much as a 3 percent salary increase to faculty and staff members whose work is ‘meritorious.’

    In terms of on-campus construction, the board approved a $2.5 million exterior renovation of the Walsh Center for the Performing Arts. The update to the façade is scheduled to begin in July 2014 and be completed December 2014.

    The board also approved the improvement of one of the university’s data centers located in Sid W. Richardson Building.

    Under the Data Center Improvements project, the backup data center currently located in the basement of Brachman Hall will be moved before the demolition of the building after next spring semester.

    Construction on this $8 million project will begin June 2014 with an expected completion date of February 2015.

    Boschini also said that the board got an update on the donor-funded Daniel-Meyer Coliseum renovations. He said the university is asking for $55 million, of which most of the money has already been raised.

    The board was also informed that TCU satisfied the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaccreditation requirements and will retain accreditation for 10 more years without monitoring.

    “Ten-year accreditation is the longest you can get. We were glad to share that with our trustees,” said Boschini.

    Two members were added to the board as members J. Roger King and William Steele were given emeritus status.

    Kathryn Farmer, a vice president at BNSF Railway Company, and Edward Clark, of Pamela and Edward Clark Hall, joined the board and will officially begin serving June 1, Boschini said. Both Farmer and Clark are TCU graduates.

    “They have been involved with TCU since they graduated. This is the logical, next step for them,” said Boschini.

    The next board meeting will be November 5-7.