Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Executive Division > Bulletin 3-26-09
March 26, 2009
As promised, this is another installment
of the Budget Bulletin to keep all of you in the FHSU community
informed on the status of our budget challenges. While
it still is not possible to know with certainty what we
may expect, the Kansas House and the Kansas Senate are
finalizing bills that are beginning to set the parameters
for the budget cuts that will be coming our way. The bill
in the Senate would require a 12 percent cut in FHSU's
Fiscal Year 2010 budget, which would translate to a reduction
of about $4.5 million. The bill in the House would require
an 8 percent cut in our FY2010 budget, which would translate
to a reduction of about $3 million. These cuts would be
for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and runs through
June 30, 2010. By way of a reminder, the $1.6 million rescission
already enacted in the current fiscal year has been covered
by redirecting our action plan money so that there will
be no impact on our operations for the remainder of this
fiscal year, which ends June 30. If both houses of the
Kansas Legislature pass their proposed bills this week,
a conference committee will meet to resolve the differences.
This cut in next year's budget, in the range of $3 million
to $4.5 million, is what I predicted when I spoke to you
on Feb. 18 in the most recent University Open Forum. However,
I expect that when new economic projections are issued
in mid-April, the Legislature will need to enact further
cuts. To put it bluntly, these cuts would drastically
impede the ability of the Kansas Board of Regents system
to provide adequate educational services to the people
of Kansas. At FHSU, the cuts would impact faculty and staff
You may be aware that the Regents proposed
a tuition freeze for next year, but that was conditional
on a maximum of 7 percent in cuts for university budgets.
I am afraid the cuts will exceed 7 percent, so we will
continue with the four-part strategy I outlined in the
University Open Forum. As you recall, we will continue
to pursue growth, we will develop new efficiencies to hold
down operational costs, we will increase tuition, and,
finally, we will implement budget cuts to fill the gap
that remains following the first three steps of the strategy.
Once again I must ask you to be patient as we wait and
watch together for final decisions from the Legislature.
Only then will we be able to make firm decisions about
the steps we must take to address the budget cuts. In
the meantime, please continue to post your suggestions
and questions on Budget Watch, which can be found on the
home page of the FHSU Web site. I greatly appreciate the
many positive, creative suggestions you have provided.
I also want to emphatically express my appreciation to
the budget managers in the departments and offices across
campus for all the work you have done on drafting thoughtful
strategies and proposals for dealing with the anticipated
budget cuts in your areas.
Finally, here are more responses
to some of the questions and suggestions that have been
posted on the Budget Watch site.
Q. Just a thought as I am here on spring break Friday. What
could we save from closing the university down all week for
this break as we do over the Christmas break ... The NY Jets
NFL team is doing something similar to the following: a two-week
unpaid time off for all employees. This could be accomplished
all at once like between semesters, or Fall and Spring
breaks. Maybe it could be on an individual basis? Some
areas probably couldn't handle this but we could go two
weeks unpaid for 100 percent of administration, to set
a good example; 100 percent of faculty; and maybe 90 to
95 percent of the staff, leaving a bare bones crew for
security, Virtual College, phones, etc. While I didn't
run the unpaid two weeks by them, it appears in speaking
with coworkers that it's a near unanimous opinion that
everyone is in this together and rather than making a few
single individuals take the entire brunt of this crisis
we should all do our small part. I realize this would be
a logistical nightmare to accomplish, but could potentially
save a lot of money in a more fair and balanced manner.
A. We are considering the option of closing the campus
during spring break in the future. It would mean either
requiring all FHSU employees to use vacation time, as we
do during the Christmas break, or treating it as a furlough,
which means employees would have the week off with no pay.
Some universities have taken similar actions because of
the economic downturn, but this is one of the things that
will not be decided until we know how many dollars we actually
have to cut from our budget.
Q. In [one of my classes] we
have been discussing and practicing creative thinking.
An exercise that I conducted today in class encouraged
students to come up with creative suggestions to assist
in improving the budget situation. I promised my students
that I would pass them on to you. Many of them are ideas
that have been suggested already. Thank you for taking
time to read and consider their suggestions.
Increase parking pass prices;
Increase tuition for each student that would equal out to about $100 per semester more;
Increase the capacities in the on-line courses;
Replace all light bulbs in classrooms with CFL bulbs and sensor
lights that go off when the classroom is not in use;
Keep exploring wind energy for the campus; Utilize the solar
Connect more with the community, encouraging
students to volunteer their services to community agencies,
which will bring returns to the community and university.
A. These are all worthwhile suggestions. Increases in parking
fees and other fees are under consideration but, as with other
decisions, must wait until we see what the Legislature decides.
We are diligently pursuing the wind energy option and are hopeful
that stimulus money may be available as the best option to
finance it. I think I've spoken to most of the other suggestions
previously, and there is additional information about lighting
in the question that follows.
Q. Remove light bulbs from every other panel
in hallways and restrooms. For example, the women's restroom
on 2nd floor has seven panels with lights plus two panels
over the mirrors. Leave the lights over the mirrors, but
take out a fourth to half of the remaining light bulbs.
Do this in hallways as well. In stairwells, leave those
alone since those tend to be darker and need more lighting
for safety reasons. But bathrooms and hallways lights could
be removed without impacting safety. I would have to think
if this were done all over campus, it could have a significant
impact on energy costs.
A. We experimented with removing
some of the lights and learned that the savings in electricity
would not cover the cost of replacing ballasts that burn
out because of missing bulbs. This is still an idea worth
pursuing, though, and we may try replacing some of the
good bulbs with burned out bulbs to see if that reduces
the problems with the ballasts.
Q. KAMS should be postponed.
This is a perk for a few seniors, not as important as the income/livelihood
of the current workforce. Bring it back when the budget is
not so incredibly strained.
A. Besides being a wise investment
in some of our brightest
youth that will produce tremendous economic benefits for
Kansas in the future, the funding for the Kansas Academy
of Mathematics and Science comes from new money provided
by the Legislature expressly for this purpose. Postponing
KAMS would not free up money for other uses.
Copyright © 2009-2012 Fort Hays State University • 600 Park Street, Hays, Kansas 67601–4099 • 785–628–FHSU (3478) Contact Webmaster with any questions or comments concerning this Web site.