Are We Living In Wonderland?
by Silence Dogood

The front-page article in the St. Cloud Times on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 proclaimed:

In the article, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard Green is quoted as saying “university officials anticipated the decrease in enrollment, and it’s in line with what they have seen in the past several years.”

On the same day, 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:

The budget for FY15 clearly shows a budget deficit of $9,542,000.

Interim Provost Richard Green is new to the SCSU campus so it might be understandable that he might not be aware of all of the minute details but in what world is a 5.1% enrollment decline and $9,542,000 budget shortfall simply business as usual. In higher education where enrollment is the primary driver of revenue generation, is there another institution that has experienced a 22% enrollment decline with five years of decline willing to accept this as business as usual?

The Provost’s statement: “university officials anticipated the decrease in enrollment” could not be correct because if it were, a budget would have been presented that did not have a deficit approaching $10,000,000 dollars! This kind of money simply isn’t found in the petty cash! And you might expect that the Provost and Vice President for Finance and Administration would be talking with each other because, on the same day, the Provost says essentially that everything is going according to plan and the CFO says the ‘sky is falling.’ Perhaps she didn’t use the exact words that the ‘sky is falling’ but it would certainly be appropriate when more than three months into the fiscal year a budget is released that shows the need to cover a deficit amounting to 6.3% of the General Fund Budget! Contrary to Chicken Little’s mass hysteria, this time the sky really is falling!

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