Patrick B. McGuigan
One employee at Connors State College in Warner was paid more than the governor of Oklahoma in Fiscal Year 2010, the most recent year for which comprehensie data is available (http://accountabilityok.org/payroll/).
That was President Donnie L. Nero, the first African-American leader in the school’s history. He made $184,813. One other school leader had a pay scale that, in 2010, was comparatively high: Jolynn A. Digranes, the VP for Academic Resources, was paid $94,870.
A more typical salary at Connors State was that of Debbie L. Long, an “advisement assistant” who was then earning $32,849 a year. Total payroll on the campus was $6,695,924 in FY 2010.
Like many other institutions of higher education in the Sooner State, spending at Connors State has increased significantly in the past ten years. In fact, the school has seen expenditures decline only once in the last ten fiscal years.
In his examination of higher education spending, Peter J. Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog found that Connors State spending had fallen in Fiscal Year 2004, but risen each year since then.
Rudy found, “In the past three years, while the state was suffering a revenue failure and two budget shortfalls, Connors State was increasing its budget by 3.1 percent, 9.9 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.”
A chart published on the Oklahoma Watchdog website lays out in clear visual form the ascent of sending on the campus.
As Rudy wrote in late August, “Even with the lower spending in FY 2004, the average annual budget increase at Connors State College over the last decade is 4.1 percent. Since FY 2005, the average annual increase is 5.1 percent, which is more than twice the rate of inflation over that period. The FY 2012 budget is 42 percent larger than the FY 2003 budget.”
Matching the pattern at most colleges and universities in Oklahoma, Connors State is less reliant on state appropriations for its funding than in past years.
In Fiscal Year 2003, two-thirds (66 percent) of the institution’s revenue came from the state, and 26 percent from tuition and fees. In Fiscal Year 2012, the state is providing 57 percent of Connor State’s revenue, while 41 percent is derived from tuition and fees.”
Oklahoma’s chief executives are paid $147,000 a year. CapitolBeatOK has found, in a study of state government payrolls, that 877 state employees were paid more than the governor in Fiscal Year 2010. All but 52 of those individuals were in Higher Education.
Further, a total of 2,605 public employees in state government earned $100,000 and up. Only 519 of those were not in the Higher Ed system.