Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Executive Division > Bulletin 4-30-09
April 30, 2009
With Mark Parkinson newly sworn in as governor, the Kansas
Legislature reconvened yesterday in Topeka to begin building
a final budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
Because of the recent report by the Consensus Revenue Estimating
Group that projects a greater shortfall than had earlier
been anticipated, the House is looking at a revised budget
that would cut about 11 percent from the FHSU budget. The
Senate is looking at a cut for FHSU of about 10 percent.
The budget bill passed earlier in the session would have
cut our budget by 7.3 percent.
I believe the reduction of 30 positions that I announced
at last week's University Open Forum will be sufficient for
these levels of cuts. We would need to cut additional positions
only if the final action by the Legislature goes beyond this
range of budget reductions.
We're getting close to the end. As soon as I know what our
final budget reductions will be, I will let you know.
I appreciate the thoughtful comments many of you continue
to post on the Budget Watch, located on the home page of
the FHSU Web site. Here are more responses to some of those
Q. Last night it rained, yet this morning they have the
sprinklers on. Do you feel this is really saving our school
money? I feel it's a waste of water and money. I understand
that we want our school to look nice to visitors but shouldn't
we only water on days when it's really needed?
A. Good point. We will be vigilant about not overwatering,
and we will override the timing systems when appropriate.
I would note, though, that some watering may be done even
after a light overnight rain. We will follow a watering regimen
in which we do as little watering as possible while maintaining
Q. Maybe we could have the outside light clocks set so the
lights come on at 8:30 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. and shut off
at 7:30 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m.
A. Most of the campus lights are activated by photocells,
but some are on timers and we will adjust them for the time
Q. I think that there are some cuts that can be made in
Sheridan Hall too.
A. There will be. No one is immune. The budget cut proposals
that I requested will affect every office on campus.
Q. Why do we need two people to do what was once a job for
one? When Dan Heater left his position was filled by two
people instead of one and resulted in two supervisor promotions
in the grounds department. Surely our money would be better
put to use by only having one.
Q. In order to reduce spending there should not be duplication
of personal. For example two physical plant directors. It
seems to me there use to be only one person in this job,
why two? Pick one of the directors and move on. …
A. I appreciate the genuine concern expressed in these two
questions, but your math is faulty. We actually reduced the
positions from three to two. When Dan was still here, we
had his position and the two supervisors; now we have only
the two supervisors.
Q. I am concerned with the idea of shutting down the air
conditioning in buildings from Thursday p.m. to Monday a.m.
I have always understood that the effort to cool down a home
more that 5 degrees or so would actually utilize more energy
and actually cost more than maintaining the temperature.
I would assume the same would be true of our buildings. Has
anyone consulted Midwest Energy about cost effectiveness
of this plan?
A. Yes, part of our energy audit included consultations with
Midwest Energy. Actually, not every building will be handled
the same. We have quite a variety of heating and cooling
systems with differing specifications for efficiencies. We
will generally follow the pattern of reducing energy over
the three-day weekends, but each system requires its own
Q. As a Virtual College student at FHSU, I pay great attention
to the current budget situation. What cuts that may happen
on campus have the possibility of negatively affecting the
distance education community too. I am also employed as a
staff member at the University of Florida, in Gainesville,
Florida. Today, we were presented with budget cut proposals
which could eliminate approximately 360 jobs by July 1. This
does not include the open positions which would not be filled.
I am very concerned that such a problem exists at both institutions,
which are at such a great distance from each other. This
has surely become a national problem. Hopefully, we can avoid
any drastic cuts which would undermine the value each university
has within their respective communities. Without higher education,
our prospects of staying the technological leader of the
world would diminish greatly. At this time of cuts and layoffs,
my thoughts of a better future are with the Fort Hays State
University community, as it is also with the University of
Q. Will the budget problem be of any concern to the Virtual
College students? I did notice more classes being offered
online for the fall semester, which is not really a concern,
but a good thing.
A. FHSU's Virtual College provides revenue that helps us
deal with the ongoing budget crisis, and it is a key part
of our growth strategy. While the Virtual College, like all
other units, will face some budget reductions, its future
is not in jeopardy.
Q. I cannot say that I am too pleased the university is
looking to raise tuition, increase parking fees, etc. Why
is it the student's responsibility to have to pitch in extra
money, which they do not have, just so the university can
cover its rear? If everyone would take a step back, then
they would see that passing the buck to the student may seem
like a short term fix, but there will be financial problems
in the long run. This is especially true now that it is becoming
harder and harder to get adequate financial aide from the
A. We are considering an increase in tuition, but we are
trying to minimize the impact of the budget crisis on students.
We will hold tuition under $100 per credit hour, which will
continue to be the lowest tuition in the region.
Q. I believe reimbursements for travel should only be for
the amount spent per receipts. Put the burden of proof on
the person seeking the reimbursement so that it doesn't put
added work on the staff.
A. These regulations are set at the state level.
Q. Stop sending out Dr. Hammond's Christmas Cards and Calendars.
A. I am considering the option of converting birthday cards
and Christmas cards to an electronic format as part of
my budget reductions. My office does not send out calendars.
Q. I don't know what previous suggestions may have been
made, but I thought I would put this forward as an idea.
This past fall, at home, I finally implemented a change in
my routine as regarding electrical appliances of all types.
At night and during the day when I am at work, I now disconnect
(by using a power strip with an off switch) these things … It
struck me, in looking around my office and department, how
many electrical appliances and devices like this we have
here which continue to draw power 24/7.
A. This is a good suggestion. We need to reduce the use of
electricity on campus, and we encourage everyone to shut
off equipment when it does not need to be running, especially
over the three-day weekends.
Q. You've mentioned increasing the temperatures in buildings
over the summer to save on air conditioning costs. I would
suggest lowering the temperatures to save over the winter
months. My building's temperature is set at 75 degrees in
the winter and is typically even hotter in the afternoon.
This is significantly higher than at my own house and I actually
find 75 to be uncomfortably hot. I would think that 70, 72
or even 68 degrees would be acceptable in most building in
the winter months.
A. We will evaluate heating practices prior to next winter
so that we can make changes for efficiency.
Q. In the Budget Bulletin of March 26, President Hammond
made no mention of how federal stimulus money might be used
to help ease the extent of the cuts that FHSU is likely facing.
What plans are being put into place for stimulus funds to
be used at FHSU? How much do these funds total for FHSU?
A. We are awaiting the answers to these questions, but it
appears now that whatever stimulus money we receive will
be restricted to maintenance and repairs.
Q. Just a thought, it is a little drastic. FHSU could go
to a four-day workweek all year round. If we save so much
from closing the campus on Fridays during the summer, imagine
what we could save all year. People would get used to working
10 hours days.
A. We will never go to a four-day workweek during the fall
and spring semesters because it would be detrimental to on-campus
Q. Is there some way to get some of the many FHSU employees
way over the retirement age to retire and let the younger
employees that really need the money feel safer in their
A. No, we cannot force people to retire.
Q. Could we look into hosting large concerts in Gross Memorial
Coliseum, as had been done in the past? Also marketing the
facilities available for rent at FHSU for weddings, etc.
A. Historically, most of those concerts have lost money.
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