Western Oklahoma president earns more than $100,000, campus budget doubles in a decade
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Published: 12-Sep-2011

At Western Oklahoma State, a two-year junior college in Altus, no employees earn more than Gov. Mary Fallin, a study of compensation in Higher Education has found.  However, the school’s president garnered total compensation over $100,000 a year, according to the most recent available comprehensive data. 

Pay for Dr. Phillip D. Birdine, president and former registrar, was $108,327 in Fiscal year 2010. He earned $45,000 as registrar, and $62,327 as president, with another $1,000 in differential pay, according to AccountAbilityOK.com, a project of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. 

Former president Randall L. Cumby earned a total of $117,097, according to the website. Total payroll expenses at Western Oklahoma State College in FY 2010 were $6,500,440.
A more typical salary at the institution was that of Professor Coby L. Carden, who earned a total of $68,124 in FY 2010. 

In his analysis of Higher Education spending since 2003, Peter J. Rudy of OklahomaWatchdog.org found that the budget at Western Oklahoma had more than doubled in the past decade, going from $6.8 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to $13.9 million in Fiscal Year 2012. 

Put another way, total personnel spending at the institution in FY 2010 ($6,500,440) nearly equaled the entire campus budget for FY 2003.

A chart accompanying Rudy’s late August analysis found that “despite a revenue failure and two budget shortfalls over the last three years, spending did not go down in that period.” 

Rudy reported, “WOSC decreased its budget in FY2004, but since then, has increased by an average of 10% per year which is four times the rate of inflation over that period.  In the last three years, while the state has suffered a revenue failure and two budget shortfalls, WOSC has hiked its budget by 8.0%, 19.2% and 8.4% respectively.” Comparing the institution to others in Oklahoma education, Rudy reported, “The 105% budget increase over the last decade is the largest seen so far, as is the 40% increase in spending over the last three years.”

A decade ago, the school garnered 68 percent of its budget from state appropriations, and 25 percent from tuition and fees. This year, that has shifted significantly, with 44 percent of the budget from state appropriations, and tuition/fees making up 47 percent of the total.  

CapitolBeatOK’s examination of public employee salaries in Oklahoma has found that in FY 2010, a total of 877 state employees were compensated at $147,000 a year (the salary earned by Gov. Mary Fallin. All but 52 of those employees are in the Higher Education system. 

Expanding the examination to salaries of $100,000 or more yields a total of 2,605 people in Oklahoma state government who are paid salaries of $100,000 and up. 

Of the 2,605 people being paid more than $100,000 a year, only 519 are not in the higher education system. There are 2,086 “Higher Ed” employees earning more than $100,000 in annual salaries.

CapitolBeatOK’s study of state employee salaries draws information from multiple sources, including the AccountAbilityOK.com website, the state’s Open Books website, and other sources.

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