Central State Trustees Regain Control of Finances
Central State University has balanced its budget, paid its debts and is out from under state supervision. Gov. Bob Taft released Ohio’s only public, historically Black university from state fiscal oversight late last month, five years after the state took over the school’s finances.
“In 1997, the school stood on the brink of collapse. Some facilities were virtually uninhabitable, the finances were unaccountable, and some were calling for the university to close,” Taft said. “You are now poised to build ever higher levels of academic excellence from a foundation of financial stability.”
Central State is the only school in Ohio that has been put under state fiscal oversight. The Legislature made that move in 1997, and approved spending $28 million over two years to keep Central State operating.
A recent state audit showed that the university, located about 15 miles east of Dayton, had a $3 million budget surplus, says Andy Andrews, the university’s executive vice president of administration and finance.
Enrollment tops 1,400 students, up from 1,000 five years ago but still below a peak of 3,200 in 1992. New additions include the Stokes Center on Aging, which is devoted to the study of gerontology, and a new 304-bed dormitory scheduled to open in September.
“For Ohio to succeed, we need a strong Central State,” Taft says. “Central State has a unique role in serving the needs of our urban areas, the needs of our African American students and the needs of all Ohio.”
Michael Whitfield, a student member of the university’s board of trustees, called the school’s release from state supervision “exciting.”
“It affirms the state support behind our school,” says Whitfield, 19, of Springfield. “They’ve done a lot to turn things around here.”
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