The Guardian

Threat of fiscal watch at Wright State looms as the fiscal year comes to an end

Sarah Cavender, News Writer

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After the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, the possibility of Wright State entering fiscal watch appears to be a feasible possibility.

According to Board of Trustees Member Sean Fitzpatrick, the university’s finances are sending it into a trajectory for fiscal watch. With less than three months left of the fiscal year, the university has $200,000 left in its budget.

Fiscal watch is designed to increase financial accountability of educational institutions, according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Senate Bill 6, which was enacted in 1997, serves as a monitoring system for higher educational institutions’ financial reports. At the end of each fiscal year, a university receives a score which indicates its fiscal health.

The highest possible composite score is 5.00. If a university’s score falls in the range of or below 1.75 for two consecutive years, then it is placed on fiscal watch.

Wright State would not be the first or only university in the state of Ohio to be placed on fiscal watch – in 2015, Central State University was placed on watch, and then taken of in April of 2017.

Central State had previously been on fiscal watch in the 1990s along with Owens State Community College. They were two of the first schools in Ohio to have done so.

If Wright State is placed on fiscal watch, the Board of Trustees and other figureheads at Wright State would have to submit a plan to solve the financial crisis to the state. For a time, the university would be more closely monitored by the state itself.

State law would require the university’s financial recovery plan to improve its composite score to above 2.00 within the first three years of being placed on fiscal watch.

In an effort to decrease overall spending, Central State University cut administrative staff instead of classes; it was able to save $10 million by doing so.

Wright State administrators told the Board of Trustees that cuts may be needed, but they did not specify what areas could anticipate cuts.

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Threat of fiscal watch at Wright State looms as the fiscal year comes to an end