In addition to its other problems involving Lu Hardin, who resigned as president under fire last month, the University of Central Arkansas has been forced to cut operating expenditures, particularly on scholarships, under pressure from the state Department of Higher Education.
DHE Director Jim Purcell and Deputy Director Steve Floyd met with UCA administrators earlier this year, concerned about UCA operating deficits, and urged the University to make corrections.
UCA Interim President Tom Courtway said that UCA had responded by reducing scholarship expenditures by about $3.5 million from the roughly $20 million it had been spending, and by making other adjustments to operating expenditures. He said that Paul McLendon, UCA vice president for financial services, had assured him that that UCA would not have a deficit for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The audit for that year is underway now.
Courtway said that UCA had shown an operating deficit of about $1 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2006, and about $5 million for the year that ended June 30, 2007. He said much of the deficit resulted from the fact that the state funding formula for colleges and universities lagged behind expenses when an institution was growing rapidly, as UCA has been in recent years. A $1.5 million award made against UCA by the state Claims Commission because of an automobile accident also contributed to the $5 million deficit, Courtway said.
U.S. Pizza's shop at 2814 Kavanaugh closed Sunday in anticipation of reopening about a block away in a remodeled Masonic lodge on Kavanaugh. A spokesman said at press time that the opening was tentatively scheduled for Wednesday. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Since then, the Times has learned that it may be later than Wednesday.) The remodeling of the building for the restaurant has been in progress more than two years.
School board wrinkle
Early voting in school elections began this week and one to watch might be the Zone 1 race in Little Rock between incumbent Katherine Mitchell and Dr. Lee C. Nayles. Nayles has withdrawn from the race, but too late for his name to be removed from the ballot. So he still could be elected. If he took the oath of office and then resigned, the School Board would choose a successor. Since the Board has been split along racial lines on most votes, that could produce a tie vote among the remaining six members. Then the job would go to the Quorum Court.This conversation is mostly academic. But there's a quiet campaign to encourage votes against Mitchell.