WSU board chairman cautions university, ‘keep eyes on the road’

With three days left before Wright State University’s fiscal year ends, the school is expected to add a $7.2 million surplus to its reserves after having a budget deficit every year since 2012.

The university publicly celebrated the surplus in a social media post last week, but Wright State’s board of trustee president Doug Fecher quickly cautioned the school.

“To be clear…surplus yes, financially secure will take more work. We cannot let up on the discipline we’ve demonstrated. Reason to be optimistic but let’s keep our eyes on the road,” Fecher responded from his personal Twitter account @FecherDoug.

The Twitter exchange comes just as 2018 fiscal year ends Saturday. Wright State has been trying to correct years of overspending that forced trustees to slash more than $30.8 million from the school’s budget last year.

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Earlier this month, trustees approved a budget that projects another $10-million decline in revenue and could result in up to 40 employees being laid off. The number of layoffs could be much lower once attrition is factored in, Schrader has said.

On Friday, Wright State tweeted that Fecher had said the university would add money to its reserve fund and had “turned the corner and expects to end the year financially secure.” The tweet included a meme of actor James McAvoy pumping his fist with the word “SUCCESS!” popping up on the screen.

The school’s tweet was reposted on Wright State President Cheryl Schrader’s Twitter account.

Fecher said he responded to WSU on Twitter because he felt the school’s tweet went too far.

“I think that we have an obligation to deliver the correct information,” Fecher said. “Especially if it’s in the public domain like that. We have to be truthful about what we’re talking about.”

Despite the surplus, Fecher said it’s important for the university to be clear about its financial status when it comes to messaging.

“There has been a turnaround. There has been a surplus,” Fecher said. “But, reserves are not where they need to be…

We’re not where we need to be in terms of financial security and that’s the point I was trying to make on Twitter.”

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This news organization has reached out to a Wright State spokesman with questions about how the school’s social media is handled.


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