Extension to PCEA Agreement Among Board Action

Published 02.08.2008


The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday approved an extension (through 2011-12) to the agreement with the Penn College Education Association.

It is the fourth extension enacted for the agreement, which was first approved in August 2000. Previous extensions to the work agreement were approved in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Board of Directors' meeting summarized for campus communityThe extension calls for annual increases of 4 percent for the salary-system pool in both 2009-10 and 2010-11 and an increase of 4.5 percent in 2011-12. The current agreement, which ends in June 2009, calls for salary-system-pool increases of 4.5 percent in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

The extension also calls for an increase of the base salary for faculty and the addition of one base value for master's and doctoral degrees.

The PCEA membership voted in December to approve the extension. Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour thanked PCEA President James E. Temple for his work on the extension, as did Robert E. Dunham, chairman of the board.

"Jim, we appreciate your leadership," Dunham said after the extension received unanimous board approval on Thursday. "We are pleased to have an agreement that extends us to "¦ 2012."

In other business, the board approved FNB Corp. as an authorized depository of college funds. FNB has announced a merger agreement with Omega Financial Corp. the college's primary depository. The merger is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2008.

During the information portion of the meeting, Gilmour provided an enrollment update for the Spring 2008 semester.

Total spring enrollment is 6,341. That's 101 more students (1.6 percent) than last year. Enrollment is expected to increase slightly more when high school students in the dual-enrolment "PC Now" program finalize their registrations.

"We're very happy," Gilmour said. "This is exactly where we'd like to be."

Dunham called attention to Gov. Rendell's recent state budget proposal for 2008-09, which calls for a 1.94- percent decrease in Penn College's state appropriation.

He said if the proposal remains unchanged in the final state budget, it would likely have an impact on tuition.

"This could be a very serious problem for us," Dunham said.

Dunham and Gilmour both noted the governor has visited the college and has had complimentary things to say about the job the college does in preparing graduates for the workforce. Dunham urged Rep. Matthew E. Baker, a member of the board who was participating Thursday by telephone, to help the college gain "our fair share."

"We're depending on you, Matt," Dunham said.

Baker pledged to work with the college administration to establish avenues of communication with the governor and legislators on the appropriation issue.

The board heard from Suzanne T. Stopper, associate vice president for business affairs/controller, about the college's audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007. Stopper told the board that the auditors (Larson, Kellett & Associates, P.C.) have issued an unqualified clean audit opinion, with no condition worthy of comment in a management letter.

Robert M. Fisher, vice president for business affairs, told the board that the administration expects to go to market with the impending bond issue on Feb. 20-21.

He said waiting to issue the bonds has resulted in a potential interest savings of approximately $200,000. The bond issue will finance construction of additional student housing and major renovation projects at several campus facilities. Two previous college bond issues that were to be refinanced will not be at this time, Fisher said, though the board has authorized the administration to arrange for refinancing within the next six months if rates become more favorable.

Mark A. Paternostro, associate vice president for academic services, reported to the board regarding efforts to improve first-year-student retention. Retention practices include pre-enrollment activities (placement testing, advising, career planning, Connections and Welcome Weekend), academic support services (tutoring, First Year Experience, Supplemental Instruction, Act 101, TRIO and counseling) and academic probation-remediation.

He said the number of new students on probation in Fall 2007 (577) decreased from Fall 2006 (621), as did the number of academic dismissals: 312 in 2006 and 222 in 2007.

James K. Shillenn, executive director/CEO of the IMC, which receives administrative services from the college, made a presentation on the IMC's activities. He provided a basic overview of IMC, which serves small and medium-size manufacturers (those with 500 employees or less) in a 12-county region of central Pennsylvania.