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Penn State trustees spent nearly $318,000 on conference meals, lodging, and more as budgets tightened Spotlight PA

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State University — Newly released records show that the board of trustees of Pennsylvania State University has spent approximately $318,000 to cover travel, lodging, food and other expenses for attendees for the past six in-person meetings .

The 38-member board spent more than $155,500 on meeting food and related expenses. This equates to an average of nearly $26,000 for each two-day event. At his July meeting, held at the University’s York campus, the Board paid him $17,800 for the cost of a “reception/dinner.”

Financial disclosure for 6 meetings from September 2021 to July 2022 was in the material Now available for the September 22nd Trustees and Strategic Planning Meeting.

Wyatt DuBois, a spokesperson for Pennsylvania State University, said in an emailed statement that board meeting costs vary by location, attendance, and agenda. have not been paid and the university will reimburse them for their travel expenses, although some board members have refused to do so.

Penn State’s recent spending comes amid a university-wide effort to tighten its belts and a recent tuition hike.

Penn State closed a $127 million deficit last year and is under a sweeping “strategic hiring freeze” to keep the budget balanced through at least the summer of 2023.President Neeli Bendapdi Big 3% budget cutBoard meeting in July Voted to increase tuition fees by 5% to 6% Helps increase revenue. University officials said they were looking for other ways to increase their income. Income is typically derived from tuition fees and state spending.

Employees question the university’s leadership. $71,000 salary increase for top managers, Creation of a new vice president position During a Hiring Freeze, When Employee Workload Increases wage overtaken by inflation. Board committees, including many of the most influential leaders, also Hold regular closed-door meetings that may violate Pennsylvania transparency laws.

In a statement, Dubois said the board was aware of the meeting costs and had been working for years to save on them.

“The board will reduce costs by moving off-cycle committee meetings remotely, remote board attendance, board-wide meetings to the Eric J. Barron Innovation Hub Building, and limiting the number of administrators. We have made some changes and are continuing to consider them, some of our staff working at conferences have changed their streaming service from WPSU to Microsoft Teams, managed by Penn State IT,” said DuBois. .

Trustee spending peaked in the last decade in 2015-16, when the Board spent more than $415,000 on meetings, According to old financial reportsIn the previous fiscal year, 2014-15, Trustee meetings cost approximately $406,000.

In three of the past four fiscal years, the Board’s annual spending exceeded $300,000, according to the financial report, except for the pandemic-affected fiscal year 2020-21, where the trustees spent $89,168. spent dollars.

Accommodation was the second highest spending category for boards in the most recent cycle. Over the past six meetings, the Trustees have spent a total of over $75,000, or an average of about $12,500 per meeting.

The board also paid $61,700 for “purchased university services,” although the report provides limited details on those services. I paid $10,858.54 for “Barron video” and “Fleet”.

DuBois said the trustees use university-owned fleet vehicles and that WPSU produced a video honoring former university president Eric Barron. retired in May.

The Board uses the University-owned Penn Starter Hotel & Conference Center. However, it is expected to go on sale this fall. — some of the meetings at University Park. According to expense reports, trustees paid Penn Stater more than $100,400 for “meal and rest services” during meetings there.

At a September 22 Governance Committee meeting, governor-appointed board member David Kleppinger said the board supports services run by the university.

“Most of these costs are for lodging, meals, rest services, and other services, most of which are provided by university entities,” Kreppinger said. It’s the money that comes back to college for the services of.”

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https://www.spotlightpa.org/statecollege/2022/09/penn-state-board-of-trustees-meetings-spending/ Penn State trustees spent nearly $318,000 on conference meals, lodging, and more as budgets tightened Spotlight PA

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