Feb 262009
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Interim CSU President Tony Frank announced Friday afternoon that the university will move forward with previously prepared budget reduction scenarios.

In an e-mail to the CSU community, Frank said CSU anticipates a $13.1 million shortfall for fiscal year 2009 to 2010, stemming from the $6.7 million the university is to return to Colorado’s General Fund and $6.35 million in shortfalls coming from the state’s deficits in interest earnings, increased benefit costs and a decline in out of state student enrollment.

Additionally, the cuts will make up for the commitments CSU made last year to rebuild and reposition its athletics program.

In his first address to the student government Senate just over two weeks ago, Frank recommended the Student Fee Review Board raise student fees $15 to assist the athletics department.

Frank said the fee is vital in funding the struggling department.

“CSU spends the lowest amount on athletics in the state and yet has one of the highest graduation rates of athletes,” Frank told the Senate.

Interim Provost Rick Miranda said Friday that the administration is hoping that the SFRB continues to consider the student fee increase.

Though student fees may help funnel money into the athletics department, CSU’s administration took hits in favor of forming Frank’s $1.5 million reserve funds late last year, and Gov. Bill Ritter’s recommended $12.5 million cut to CSU’s state funding left the university in peril.

And while CSU has not yet obtained the potential financial package coming from President Obama’s economic stimulus package, Frank said it is necessary to proceed with projected cuts.

“It’s also become clear that – even if the state is able to reduce its portion of the rescission for this year through one-time bridge funds and stimulus assistance – we, as a campus, still must deal with the ongoing and significant impact of the economic downturn and increasing mandatory costs,” he said.

In addition to the reserve fund Frank created at the end of last year, furthered cuts include a 3 percent average cut to academic units and a 6 percent average cut to administrative units.

Miranda said every academic college’s budget has been assessed in accordance with the university-wide cuts.

“Every unit on campus has been asked to contribute to this rescission. Nearly every department of every college will be affected,” he said.

Miranda said that while no instructional or additional administrative positions will be axed this spring, staff members may be asked to take reassignments or different duties come fall semester.

“Any affect on our courses for this spring semester will not be seen,” he said.

In his e-mail, Frank insisted the university will strive to ensure cuts to the classroom are minimal, though he said individual units may eliminate positions to meet “their share” of the budget reduction.

“Although it is too early to know how many positions could be impacted, we anticipate that it will come to less than 1 percent of our permanent, non-faculty workforce, and that no permanent faculty lines will be affected,” he said.

While he continue to look at furloughs, or paid leave, as an alternative to layoffs, Frank said he’d “decided against utilizing any mandatory furloughs for FY09 because it would leave our employees with very little time to prepare for the associated reduction in pay.”

$2.6 million in institutional reserves and $500,000 in stock holdings will also be utilized in an effort to make up for funding shortfalls.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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