At Last A Budget! But Now I Have To Cry!
by Silence Dogood

On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, SCSU Vice President for Finance and Administration Tammy McGee publically unveiled the FY15 budget at a Budget Advisory Committee Meeting. The document released is reproduced below.

There is a lot of information contained in this document. However, if you were to focus on one number, it would have to be the Net Operations for the FY15 Revised Budget, which shows a deficit of $9,542,000. This represents a necessary reduction from the General Fund, which amounts to a 6.3% reduction.

Although the document does not list information about the other revenue accounts, this is a far more informative budget document that was released last year.

Now it’s time to cry. A decrease of $9,542,000 four years after $14,000,000 had been cut out of the budget will be a monumental task because all of the ‘easy’ cuts have already been made. Additionally, the tendency to make one-time cuts, fancy accounting shifts, and reserves to cover the deficit may get SCSU through this fiscal year but leave another hole in the following year’s budget.

With state appropriations related to the FYE enrollment two years earlier, since two years ago enrollment fell 6.4% in FY13, it is almost certain that the state appropriate for FY16 will be less. Unfortunately, this trend will continue going forward since last year’s FYE enrollment (FY’14) was down 5.1% and this year, enrollment (FY15) is again down over 5%. Additionally, with declining enrollments, the tuition revenue concomitantly decreases. As a result, even if the FY15 budget were to be cut to an amount equal to the revenue for this year, it would still lead to another deficit for the following year! Thus, even MORE than $9,542,000 will need to be cut!

The option recently proposed by President Potter to “grow programs” to solve the budget deficit is a good one in the long term. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just snapping your fingers and magically new programs are in place. It’s also too bad that the initiatives to grow programs wasn’t started three years ago because they actually might be helping increase enrollments right now.

Significant cuts are going to have to be made; they are as inevitable as death and taxes. The problem is that most faculty and staff (at least as demonstrated by the results from the Great Place to Work Survey) have little confidence in the administration to be able to handle the current situation. It is also a certainty that there are going to be fewer faculty and staff on campus next year to compliment the 22.5% FYE enrollment decline the past five years.

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