FY10 Budget Proposal for Colorado State University, May 1, 2009
Dear Colleagues and Students:
The Governor this afternoon signed the Long Bill authorizing the state’s budget for next year — an action that allows us to move ahead with a great deal more certainty on our CSU budget proposal for FY10. Our draft University budget is now online and available for your review on the President’s Office website at http://www.formerpresidentfrank.colostate.edu/pdf/fy10-budget-summary.pdf.
We are deeply indebted to both the Governor and higher education’s legislative supporters on both sides of the political aisle for their leadership in securing a sound budget for higher education and arriving at a solution that allows us to go forward, avoiding potentially devastating cuts to our state’s colleges and universities. The Governor’s use of federal stimulus funds to deal with our most pressing funding challenges allows us to begin to work within a multi-year planning horizon — a timeframe in which we can engage the citizens of Colorado in an overdue conversation about the importance of a sustainable funding stream for higher education.
Higher education has served Colorado well for a century and a half and remains an essential investment in the economic future of our state, and there now seems to be general agreement that we must seize this opportunity to come to some agreement as a state about how to safeguard educational access and quality over the long term.
At CSU, our immediate attention is now focused on the FY10 budget, which will be formally considered by the Board of Governors at its June meeting. As you know, our campus has been actively developing this budget since last fall. While the statewide budget picture has been solidifying, the Executive Committee of Cabinet has been considering input from our open campus planning and budget hearings in March, and from meetings with ASCSU and the Faculty Council committee on Strategic and Financial Planning, which includes representation from Classified Personnel Council and the Administrative Professional Council. These discussions have led to this draft budget proposal, which has been analyzed and discussed by the full Cabinet, Council of Deans, and student and faculty leadership. We are now rolling this budget out to the campus community to gather your feedback and input before finalizing the version we will take to the Board for approval in June.
The foundation of this budget rests on federal stimulus funding from the Governor to backfill the FY09 and FY10 budget reductions and a 9 percent resident undergraduate tuition increase designed to balance our University’s needs with affordable access to a quality education for Colorado citizens. This budget includes a low, single-digit budget reduction (2% average), which will be used to begin modestly rebuilding some institutional base budget reserves in preparation for the time when federal stimulus dollars are no longer available.
We believe this is a prudent approach that is also designed to minimize impacts on our employees over the long term by avoiding the potential for catastrophic single-year budget reductions. Nonetheless, approximately 40 jobs will be lost in this process in FY10, in addition to the 15 filled positions that were eliminated this year. While this reduction in our workforce is, thankfully, far smaller than originally anticipated, it still represents a loss to our campus community of some valuable colleagues and friends. The deployment of these cuts was designed to spare the core mission of our institution: the interaction between students and faculty.
This budget does not include furloughs. While there was strong campus support to use furloughs to mitigate personnel impacts, we believe the budget we’ve assembled — which already includes significant use of one-time funds in the form of federal stimulus money — manages to limit such impacts without increasing our reliance on short-term fixes. The use of furloughs would provide only one-time funding that would simply delay the difficult choices required as we work to contain costs and move toward a sustainable budget model. While you may have seen news reports that the state is mandating furloughs for state employees, it’s our current understanding that this will not affect higher education employees, including our state classified staff. We will continue to monitor the discussions on this issue and keep you informed if this changes.
I have continued to be pleased with the level of engagement and thoughtful advice that our campus community has provided into the budget process — it has allowed us to approach formidable challenges with a level of openness, transparency, and a sense of shared responsibility of which we can all be proud. I know I speak for the entire Cabinet in thanking you in advance for your feedback on this draft budget. There are several avenues for sharing your feedback: send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; send comments to me in care of the President’s Office; or join us for an open forum and public comment session on the budget from 9-10 a.m. May 11 in the Cherokee Park Room, Lory Student Center.
Despite the numerous fiscal challenges we’ve faced over the last eight months, this proposed budget maintains a strong foundation for our University, particularly the cornerstones of academic excellence, access, students, and faculty. From this foundation, I am confident we have the time and opportunity needed to work with the business community, our partners in K-12, bipartisan legislative leadership, higher education colleagues, and the citizens of Colorado to forge a path forward. In the next few weeks, we’ll also be rolling out to the campus a multi-year model we have been developing to assure our campus is reasonably able to operate — and sustain excellence — over the next several years, as the state is working toward a sustainable funding plan for higher education.
With great confidence in our future — and gratitude for your time in reviewing this budget and sharing your thoughts — I want to wish all of you well as we head into the last two weeks of the academic year.
Dr. Tony Frank