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Gary Carlston (left), Snow College’s president, and Rep. Derrin Owens (R) join in a celebratory embrace during a meeting of the Snow College Board of Trustees where Owens and Rep. Keith Grover (R) visited to talk about the recent legislative session in which Snow achieved significant funding.

 

Special appropriation helps

Snow level the ‘paying’ field

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

Mar. 29, 2018

 

EPHRAIM—Increasing the salaries of faculty and staff to the national median has been a goal for Snow College’s administration for a long time said Gary Carlston, Snow College’s president.

During their regular meeting held on Friday, March 23, the Snow College Board of Trustees and Carlston celebrated reaching that goal, and some of the legislators who helped make it happen were in attendance.

“This was the most important thing we could do, since the success of this college relies on its employees,” said Carlston at the meeting. “It was not hard for me and my vice presidents to make a personal commitment to that.”

The board of trustees was joined by Rep. Keith Grover (R), chair of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and Rep. Derrin Owens (R), vice chair of the same subcommittee, to discuss the funding that made it possible.

After last year’s session had ended, Grover, Owens and Evan Vickers (R), the Senate chair, approached Carlston to see what was needed at Snow, and Carlston gave them a list based on goals the school administration set.

“It was easy to go to bat for Snow College,” Owens said. “Carlston told us, ‘Take care of my people,’ and that inspired us.”

So armed with that inspiration, Grover said they guided the list past numerous funding cuts throughout the entire session and came out on the other side on top.

“It took a lot of work,” said Grover. “We basically had to sell it to our colleagues that we were not trying to grow Snow bigger, we were trying to grow them better.”

Overall, Snow College’s legislative allies helped them pull in some serious funding from this year’s legislative session—approximately $8.2 million.

Out of that $8.2M, $5 million of it came in the form of onetime capital funding appropriations, but $1,135,000 was granted as ongoing funds specifically to raise salaries.

In addition to being given the resources to reach median salaries, a system-wide 2.5-percent pay increase was granted to the school as well.

But more than pay raises will come of legislative funding of Snow College.

To improve student growth and capacity, the school will receive $845,000 to fill empty faculty positions and support economic development and concurrent enrollment.

A total of $505,000 will go to improve student retention and success and toward strengthening alliances with public schools.

Snow College’s nursing, software engineering and business programs will benefit from $750,000 in legislative funding.

According to Snow College officials, the $5 million in onetime capital improvement funding will be used to improve facilities and “physical well-being and fitness opportunities.” Current projections point toward the Horne Activity Center and the stadium as possible facilities to receive renovations.

Snow College had some friends in high places helping them reach these goals.

Many cuts were made to education funding requests, said Grover, but Snow College’s funding priorities not only made it through intact, the capital improvements amount was doubled—thanks in part to Utah County Rep. Francis Gibson (R), Owens said.

Although not in attendance at the meeting, Rep. Carl Albrecht (R) and Sen. Ralph Okerlund (R) also both contributed to the Snow College funding efforts, and were praised by Carlston for their efforts.

In fact, during the meeting, Carlston said the school didn’t have a lot of options to achieve its goals without impacting students if the legislation had not appropriated the money for them.

“We never flinched on our commitment,” Carlston said. “But there was never any clear way to get there. Our only other pathway was growth.”

But Owens and Grover both said at the board of trustees meeting the main reason they were able to pull it off was because of Snow College’s record of excellence and high student success rate.

In closing, Carlston said, “I hope you all see why this report is about so much more than numbers.”

In total, the 2018-2019 adjusted beginning base budget for Snow College, according to a Utah Higher Education system report, is $35,222,700.

Of that amount, $20,739,900 comes from the state education fund, and $2,899,600 comes from the state general fund. These figures reflect approximately 67-percent state funding for the school, down from about 80 percent  during the pre-recession era more than a decade ago.