Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Executive Division > Bulletin 5-14-09
May 14, 2009It was good to see such a large turnout for
Wednesday's University Open Forum, in which I was finally
able to discuss the completed budget for the fiscal year
that begins in July -- as approved by the Kansas Legislature
and signed by new Gov. Mark Parkinson -- and explain the
ramifications of that budget for our university.
be the last budget forum and this will be the last Budget
Bulletin unless major new challenges arise. If that should
happen, I will again use every possible means to keep you
For those of you who were unable to attend yesterday,
here is a summary of the major points I shared.
Faced with a
looming revenue shortage somewhere in the range of $1.4 billion,
the Kansas Legislature managed to hold what might have been
a cut of 20 percent or more in the budgets of Kansas Board
of Regents universities to about 12 percent. The cut in the
Fiscal Year 2010 budget for FHSU, including the original “Mega Budget” bill
that passed in March and the Omnibus bill that passed May
8, was $3.7 million. However, the actual impact when unfunded
mandates are included, totals closer to $4.5 million.
calculated that a cut of this magnitude would require a reduction
of 54 employees. By using the recommendations of budget managers
across the campus and following the guiding principles that
we had adopted for dealing with this crisis, we were able
to soften the impact of this $4.5 million budget reduction
through efficiencies, projected enrollment growth and a proposed
tuition increase. That meant we were faced with the need
to eliminate only 28 positions. Thanks to some retirements,
a freeze on some empty positions, an increase in teaching
loads and a reduction in hours for just five employees, no
one will lose his or her job as a result of the budget cuts.
I am amazed that our university could absorb a $4.5 million
cut without having to eliminate any employees. This accomplishment
would not have been possible without your support, your ideas
and your willingness to take on additional workloads.
suggested at the beginning of this bulletin, we still might
face difficulties in the weeks and months ahead. Our planned
tuition increase -- which would still be under $100 per credit
hour and lower than any other state university in the Midwest
-- must be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents. The final
state budget has a projected ending balance of just $17,000.
The ending balance should be in excess of $100 million, and
that could create the need for mid-year adjustments. Finally,
what happens at FHSU and in the state of Kansas will ultimately
depend on the fate of the international and national economies.
Even if new financial challenges arise, we can be optimistic
because we have already demonstrated what can be accomplished
when we work together.
I thank you again for the thoughtful
questions and comments submitted on Budget Watch, located on
the home page of the FHSU Web site. Here are responses to the
last few questions:
Q. You said we would be able to dress differently
A. We want people to be as comfortable as possible
when thermostats are set higher in campus buildings this summer,
but it is important to dress appropriately.
In a casual work setting, employees should wear clothing
that is comfortable and practical for your work setting.
Shorts and flip flops are not appropriate.
Q. Could something
like this be implemented by August for the football season?
Reducing athletic events admissions would bring more fans
and more money into the Athletic Dept. I would rather see
fans pay reduced prices at the gate so they would pay more
at the concessions and reduce the prices at Tiger Fort.
Ticket prices for Tiger athletics are already comparatively
low, so lowering the prices would not necessarily cause any
significant increase in attendance. In addition, the Athletic
Department, like every other department, is dealing with
budget cuts and needs the revenue.
Q. Since Student Health was
closed for the summer. Shouldn't the library be closed also?
That could save a lot in cooling costs, as it wouldn't take
much to keep the basement cool for CTELT.
Q. Why is the library
open on Fridays and Saturdays if student count is very low
or none at all? Sundays are a much busier day that to me would
be more effective. This would save money on student help and
A. Students need the library. It serves both
Virtual College students and on-campus students. The number
of on-campus classes this summer has been reduced, but the
total student credit hours will be about the same as last
Q. Would it be possible to reduce the amount of grass
cutting on campus? Creating areas of natural ground cover and
native grasses could reduce the amount of labor, fuel and water
used yet still provide aesthetic landscaping.
A. Most of
the lawns on campus are buffalo or other native grasses.
The Quad is the only part of campus that has cool-season
grass, and it is low-maintenance fescue.
Q. Why is the university
funding renovations on Picken Hall when we are in a budget
crunch? There are faculty and student employment cuts yet
enough funds to beautify the facilities. While I understand
how important it is to keep our faculties in good working
condition, it seems like this project and a few others could
be put off until FHSU is in a financially sound place.
Thanks for taking the time to ask your question and raise
this good issue. The funds we are using for the Picken project
can only be used for maintenance and repair projects. They
are one-time funds that can't be used in the ongoing base
budget where our cuts are coming. We will also be getting
over $2 million dollars of stimulus funds that also have
this limitation. Our problem is in the State General Fund
and our base budget.
Q. What criteria were used to base your
decisions on what positions on campus would be eliminated
versus those that would be reduced in length of contracts?
Are there any positions at the administration level that
are being eliminated, such as an assistant to the assistant?
Have there been any suggestions to across-the-board pay cuts
to reduce the number of positions being lost?
A. The criteria
came in the form of recommendations from the budget managers
throughout the university, but as I announced at the forum,
no current employee will lose his or her job as a result
of budget cuts. Yes, some administrative positions are being
eliminated. The Legislature decided against across-the-board
Q. How much additional revenue could be generated by
increasing the cost spent for each transcript request? FHSU
charges only $2 per transcript when smaller schools like
Barton County Community College charge $5 per transcript
and larger schools such as Kansas State University charge
$8 per transcript.
A. We are increasing the charge for a
transcript to $5.
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