University of Central Missouri: UCM Board Acts on FY23 Budget, Health Care Coverage, Building Renovations

When the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors met on April 21, it approved several action items that included the award of a contract for partial renovation of the W.C. Morris Science Building, the purchase of a new flight simulator for jet pilot training, and the adoption of the Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget. It also approved a recommendation to continue employee medical coverage with its current provider, effective for the year beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

The proposed budget is contingent upon final budget reconciliation in June, which also considers any changes in appropriations made by the state’s legislature. Including state support, UCM anticipates about $160 million in total unrestricted funding, which is about $12.2 million more than the budget adopted for Fiscal Year 2022. Governor Mike Parson has recommended a 5.4 percent increase for the state’s colleges and universities which for UCM means about $58.9 million in anticipated appropriations. After the governor’s traditional withholding of 3 percent in state support, UCM expects to receive about
$3.2 million more in Missouri funding than it did in FY 2022.

According to budget documents presented to the board, tuition revenue based on forecasted credit hours and tuition rate changes is expected to increase by $13.1 million in comparison to the FY 2022 forecast. Enrollment and recently approved rate changes related to mandatory fees that cover athletics, facilities/library, student activities, community health, and technology are expected to yield an additional $1.6 million in total revenue for FY 2023. Increased operational expenses for FY 2023 include compensation and benefits costs as well as investments in new positions across campus with a reset of the university minimum wage for full-time employees to $13 per hour from the current $11.50 per hour.

Another increased expenditure for UCM applies to employee medical coverage. The board supported a recommendation to approve a contract for the 2023 benefits year with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (BKC), which was one of two companies from which the university considered proposals. Based on projected enrollment, the total estimated annual premium cost is about $12.2 million, compared to the current premium cost of $11.1 million. UCM will fund the majority of the increase while increasing the premium paid by enrolled employees by 2.95 percent across all levels of coverage. To put this in perspective, for employee-only coverage, this increase equates to an increase of about $1 per month for income tier one employees, about $2 per month for income tier two employees, and about $3 per month for employees in income tier three. For Plan Year 2022, UCM funds 76 percent of the total premiums and enrolled employees cover 24 percent. For 2023, UCM funding will increase to 78 percent of the premium cost. Additional information about health care coverage is being shared directly with university employees.

In other business, the board authorized a contract with E&K Companies Incorporated for approximately $3.9 million for renovation of the W.C. Morris Science Building. This facility houses classroom and laboratory space for programs in the sciences, including chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and computer science. This partial renovation project will make possible improvements to laboratories and classrooms that will help enhance the learning environment in order to elevate students’ competitiveness in the marketplace and create a more technologically advanced workforce for the state of Missouri. The project is being funded with $5 million in state appropriations, made possible by House Bill 19.

To help meet a strong need for training professional pilots, the governing board also authorized the School of Aviation to purchase a Boeing 737 MAX Flight Training simulator to be used for advanced procedural, flight, and systems training. The cost over a five-year period will be approximately $355,000. This equipment will come from Flightdeck Solutions, a company which has served aviation needs for some of the most prestigious collegiate flight training institutions in the United States, as well as major airlines and organizations such as NASA.

The university also awarded a contract of approximately $2.7 million to Integrated Opening Solutions for building access security upgrades and touchless entry solutions. This will provide UCM Access Control the ability to program access points throughout campus to allow only individuals who are authorized to enter buildings or specific areas within buildings. Access can be limited on a daily or even hourly basis, depending on specific needs or work shift. This technology also will allow public safety dispatchers to monitor specific doors to see if they are propped open as well as provide an audit trail to see which fob was used to enter a specific area. All doors or specific doors can be locked or unlocked in emergency situations.

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