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Budget Lies?
by Silence Dogood

There is a wealth of information available on the web. The website for the Office of Finance and Administration contains the Annual Reports for SCSU going all the way back to FY02.

At the beginning of each Annual Report is a letter from the President submitting the Annual Report to the Chancellor and giving a brief summary. A portion of President Potter’s letter to Chancellor Rosenstone for FY11 is reproduced below:

On page two of President Potter’s letter is the following paragraph:

As part of the audit, there is a section on the “Financial Highlights.”
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

So despite a 0.7% decrease in state appropriation revenue, the university still increased its net assets by $10.8 million (actually $10.88 million). The following summary table is also part of the audit report.

In FY10, the administration said that the university was facing a dire financial crisis and $14,000,000 needed to be cut from the budget during reorganization. Several times since then, the administration has cited that they had to cut $14,000,000 from the budget. The audit seems to show that if there was a growth in the net assets of $10,900,000 in FY11, then the administration perhaps actually only needed to cut $3,100,000 and not $14,000,000 to have a balanced budget!

At the beginning of the Annual Report for FY12 a portion of President Potter’s letter to Chancellor Rosenstone is reproduced below.

On page two of President Potter’s letter is the following paragraph:

The following summary table is also part of the audit report.

So the cuts to the budget in FY11 carried forward and, in fact, increased the total net assets by $23,900,000 in FY12. It certainly looks like the cuts made in FY11 were larger than necessary if the net profitability more than doubles from $10,900,000 to $23,900,000—a growth of $13,000,000!

At the beginning of the Annual Report for FY13 a portion of President Potter’s letter to Chancellor Rosenstone is reproduced below.

On page three of President Potter’s letter is the following paragraph.

The following summary table is also part of the audit report.

The rate of net growth dropped for FY 13 from $23,900,000 to only $18,000,000! However, this still represents a ROI (Return on Investment) of over 10%!

The audit for FY14 has yet to be completed but last spring, the website for the Office of Finance and Administration showed SCSU’s FY 2014 Budget, which is reproduced below.

This budget predicted that SCSU would finish FY14 with a balanced budget. This budget also shows that FY13 ended with a surplus of $4,556,769. It is important to note that this surplus occurred despite a drop in FYE for FY13 of 6.3% (13,928 to 13,053). The audit report shows an increase of $18,000,000 so there is a pretty large discrepancy between the two numbers—something on the order of $13,443,231.

Additionally, the administration predicted a balanced budget for FY14, despite a 5.0% drop in FYE enrollment (when they were only planning on a 4% drop). The audit will not be made public until late this fall but I would bet that the total net assets will be larger (or at worst only slightly smaller than in FY13).

Last March, Vice President for Finance and Administration Tammy McGee presented an enrollment projection to the Budget Advisory Committee for FY15, which called for a 3.2% drop in enrollment that required cutting $3,600,000 from the budget. In an email to the campus community from President Potter on Thursday, August 27, 2014, he announced: “As I write this, we anticipate a tuition revenue decrease with a projected decline in enrollment of between 4 and 5% this fall” resulting in a ” shortfall in our FY ’15 budget estimated between $8-$10 million.” While I was certainly never a math wiz, it is hard to understand how increasing the enrollment drop from 3.2% to at worst 5% will increase the deficit from $3,600,000 to between $8,000,000-$10,000,000. Even using the $8,000,000 number this represents an increase in the deficit of 122% for, at worst, a 56% increase in the drop in enrollment. This should make sense and it just doesn’t.

On Friday, August 29, 2014 an article appeared in the St. Cloud Times entitled “St. Cloud State faces a potential 10M deficit.” In the article, there is a quote (that is not in President Potter’s email to the campus community) stating: “The university saw deficits of nearly $6 million in 2011 and $13 million in 2012, which led to program cuts and reductions in staff.”

If you look at the annual reports reproduced above, in FY11 there was an increase of $10,900,000 and in FY12 an increase of $23,900,000. Clearly, some people can’t read a balance sheet. One might assume that they either do not understand the complexity of financial reporting or distortion was their intent. You be the judge.

One Response to “SCSU’s budget lies?”

  • Bean Counter says:

    SCSU “should” be a driving force of HONESTY, INTEGRITY and TRANSPARENCY…HIT

    Sadly, as a bean counter, this continual exposure of “embellishment of facts” aka LIES along with the its partner in crime the St Cloud Times, is devastating not only to the City of St Cloud but to anyone who has just a little intelligence.
    ****************************************************

    Opening weekend at SCSU quote in the St Cloud Times regarding Move in Day arrests:

    Not new, not alone

    Finally, it bears repeating that such trouble during move-in weekend is not new here nor in other cities with big colleges.

    For example, Mankato and Winona — Minnesota cities with state universities also holding move-in weekends — showed close to 50 calls involving loud parties, liquor violations and the like. And then there was Arizona State University in Tempe, where police made 392 arrests on Saturday night alone — 10 times as many as here.

    Hey, wait, maybe there is a positive way to spin our numbers
    **************************************************
    THESE IDIOTS EVEN TELL YOU THEY ARE SPINNING IT

    HERE’S THE SPIN….

    SCSU 17,000(maybe) STUDENTS= 223 ARRESTS

    ASU (TEMPE AZ)HAS 60,000 STUDENTS= 392 ARRESTS

    THE TIMES SAYS ” TEN TIMES AS MANY ARRESTS IN TEMPE AT ASU”

    THE MATH QUIZ CONTINUES.. WITH THE NEVER ENDING SPIN FROM THE TIMES THAT CONTINUES ITS ASSAULT ON:

    HONESTY, INTEGRITY, TRANSPARENCY

    And this is simply BACK TO THE BEGINNING (BASICS)

    Can anyone wake the Public up to this nonsense?

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