Thursday, March 8, 2012
Budget Update from the President
March 7, 2012
Dear Campus Community,
Yesterday, the legislature released its proposed budget, and there are severe cuts to the State University System (SUS). However, the cuts are non-recurring, ranging from $66 million to $2 million, and are based primarily on the amount of carry forward funds accrued at each university.
The total amount of carry forward funds in the SUS at the beginning of FY11/12 was more than one billion dollars. UWF’s carry forward funds were approximately $30 million. The expectation from the legislature is that universities will use their reserves of carry forward and one-time funds to meet next year’s expenses and therefore reduce the carry forward balance.
UWF's proposed cut is $11.9 million, non-recurring. In addition to these cuts, the legislature included a 15 percent tuition differential increase into the budget for all universities. That means if the UWF Board of Trustees does not increase tuition, we will face an additional cut.
The legislature will now go into what is called a “cooling off period" for 72 hours; then they will come together on Friday, March 9 to vote on the final budget. Next, the budget will be transmitted to the governor for signature, with implementation on July 1.
While we expected cuts this year, these cuts are far more than we anticipated. We must take precautions to ensure we can continue to deliver a high-quality education to our students.
Thus, we will place an interim freeze on the spending of all carry forward funds for the remainder of the fiscal year. This is a temporary measure we must take while we discuss appropriate next steps. This temporary freeze is effective immediately, and all requested carry forward expenditures will require vice presidential approval. Current encumbrances of carry forward funds will be honored.
It is clear that the legislature expects us to spend the funds it appropriates to us in the year they are provided. We have not done this, and as a result, our carry forward balances have steadily grown during the last four years, as have most other SUS institutions.
So, I invite you to join me in a campus dialogue regarding the options of how to solve this one-time $12 million reduction next year, as well as how we should modify our current money management practices to meet the legislature’s expectations of spending our allocation each year.
In the coming weeks, I will visit with the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, SGA, Dean’s Council, faculty and All Chairs Group to ask for ideas and input. I also invite everyone to email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, please join me at our annual spring budget town hall on March 29 at 10 a.m. in the Commons Auditorium.
I know you've heard me say this before, but we will prevail. Let’s maintain our student focus and know that better times are ahead.