Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James has been appointed an advisory trustee at the University of Akron.

James thanked trustees for appointing him at their regular board meeting Wednesday.

"The future of the university, school district ... and community in general are really tied together," James said.

The nonvoting position is not compensated.

Also at Wednesday's meeting, trustees approved the annual base pay of men's soccer coach Jared Embick from $220,000 to $300,000. The $80,000 increase will be paid for by private donations to the soccer program, UA Interim President John Green noted in his update to the board.

Embick was slated to get the raise after a third trip to the College Cup in the last four years, and after he received an offer from the University of Louisville. A UA source had earlier revealed to the Beacon Journal's Marla Ridenour that Embick would receive the raise.

Green also said at Wednesday's meeting that with the three-year Action Plan in place, the budgeting process for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, beginning July 1, would soon begin. University officials want to eliminate $15 million in general fund expenditures for the fiscal year through revenue increases and spending cuts.

The university has faced budget gaps and declining in the last few years. After almost hitting 30,000 students in fall 2011, the university this fall enrolled 20,554. UA, like other Northeast Ohio universities, is being challenged by a decrease in high school graduates.

150th anniversary

Green also reported to trustees that a steering committee has been formed to plan the university's 150th anniversary, which will be next year.

A project already underway is a book called "Hail We Akron," a collection of UA memories from alumni, faculty members, coaches and community members.

Anyone can submit material by going to uakron.edu/hail.

Trustees also received a report that fundraising for the first six months of the fiscal year was $25.6 million — up more than 70 percent over the same period last fiscal year.

Advisory trustee

James, who has been superintendent of Akron Public Schools since 2008, joins Anthony J. Alexander, retired president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy Corp., as an advisory trustee on the UA board.

Akron Public Schools and the University of Akron have been educational partners for many years. “We fortified that partnership this past year as UA became a sister university to three of our high schools as part of our College & Career Academies of Akron," James said in a prepared statement. Those high schools are Akron Early College, the NIHF STEM High School and Ellet Community Learning Center.

Under the partnership, the three Akron schools receive expanded access to the university's facilities and staff members for college and career guidance, student mentorship, year-round hands-on learning experiences and professional teacher development. The university also will work with schools to create career-themed lessons and support the implementation of a college admission testing preparation program, as well as offer college admissions workshops.

"Our relationship is among the most important in this community," James said. "The stronger and more productive it is, the greater the future will be for our children. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be at the table as an advisory trustee."

James' term is for three years.