Budget Update, April 17, 2009
Dear Colleagues and Students:
While much still remains uncertain, our week is ending on a much more positive budget note than it began.
Governor Ritter and his team provided exceptional leadership Monday when Todd Saliman, the Governor’s director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, forwarded a plan to the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee to remove $300M of the proposed $450M of cuts to higher education from the state’s budget for FY10. The Governor’s plan then uses a portion of the state’s allotted federal stimulus funds to backfill the cut for the next three years. The House has supported this plan in amendments to the Long Bill, and while differences with the Senate version remain to be resolved, I am very confident that the Senate also supports this balanced approach to budget reduction that doesn’t force draconian cuts to our state’s colleges and universities.
We owe a great debt of thanks to all of our elected officials on both sides of the political aisle, who have worked in a truly bipartisan fashion to find a solution to a complex challenge. We are particularly grateful to the Governor, who recognized the critical nature of higher education and worked hard on our behalf to broker a solution that would preserve educational quality and access for Coloradans.
Assuming this budget scenario holds, we will turn out to the campus in the next 7-10 days a draft FY10 budget that is in line with the Governor’s plan and built around both low-single-digit budget reductions and a 9% resident undergraduate tuition increase/3% non- resident undergraduate increase. We believe such a budget will largely limit — though not completely spare — further personnel impacts. And although there are still discussions at the state level about some type of state employee furlough, it’s not clear whether that would apply to employees of higher education institutions. We’re continuing to monitor these discussions and will keep you updated.
Just as important, this budget scenario will allow us the time and opportunity to work with state leaders and citizens toward a long- term, sustainable funding stream for Colorado higher education. As an institution, we will continue to take a conservative budgeting approach over the next several fiscal years, using the one-time stimulus funding provided by the Governor as a bridge toward a multi- year funding model that will allow us to minimize job cuts and maintain educational access through prudent, long-term planning; cost containment; and a continuous focus on wise and responsible use of public resources. We’ll be developing this model budget approach over the coming weeks and sharing it with campus for open discussion and debate.
I remain impressed by the level of support higher education enjoys within both parties, the business community, and the public at large — and by their strong awareness and understanding of how important it is to preserve public access to education for the good of our state and its economy. With this level of support, I think we can be optimistic that a carefully developed plan can be successful in creating a long-term, sustainable funding platform that will allow us to continue to build the quality and excellence of our academic program.
In the meantime, I thank you all again for your suggestions and continued hard work in support of our teaching, research, and outreach programs — particularly in the face of some difficult and uncertain circumstances. Of course, there will be more to follow but I think we can all take a deep breath, enjoy the badly needed spring moisture, and perhaps sleep just a bit more easily this weekend.
On Saturday night, I’ll be attending our annual Distinguished Alumni Awards event, where our honorees include business, civic, and philanthropic leaders, scholars, a sitting governor, and many other distinguished graduates of our great university. Their significant life achievements are a great reminder of our raison d’etre, and the enormous benefits that are returned to our society when our citizens have access to public higher education.
And on one final note, congratulations to everyone on campus who helped to organize and participate in this year’s RecycleMania competition — CSU once again ranked in the top 10 nationwide among more than 500 competing schools, demonstrating our very real commitment to a healthy, sustainable campus community.
Have a great weekend,
Dr. Tony Frank