Jun 232009
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

As the CSU System Board of Governors prepares to vote on the budget for fiscal year 2010 today, CSU President Tony Frank said he anticipates the board will approve the budget but suspects they are somewhat disappointed by depleted funds.

Frank said the board understood the university’s need to compensate for devastating state cuts to higher education in past months, which left a $30 million shortfall that will be filled by money from President Obama’s stimulus package.

“My sense is that they are somewhat disappointed that finances represent a constraint on improving the quality of the university (and, as a side note, I think we very much want a Board that wants us to improve), but that they understand the situation and are supportive of the budgetary approach we’re taking to addressing the current fiscal challenges,” Frank said in an e-mail to the Collegian last week.

In April, state universities were faced with the possibility of a $300 million cut to state higher education – triple the amount Gov. Bill Ritter advised in January – which would have cut the $130 million CSU currently receives from the state in half, Frank said in an e-mail to the Collegian in early May.

Heeding the Joint Budget Committee’s recommendations, Ritter drafted a plan that would instead cut $150 million from higher education, to be backfilled annually for three years using the federal stimulus money the state is set to receive if it maintains its commitment to funding universities.

On Tuesday, the Denver Post reported Ritter’s Monday announcement that the state would have to use $249 million set aside for next year’s budget to pay for a $384 million shortfall in fiscal year 2010. Sen. Moe Keller (D-Wheat Ridge) was quoted saying higher education will likely be “spared any significant cuts.”

In a May budget presentation to the university, Frank said the budget plan looks to “begin modestly rebuilding some institutional base budget reserves in preparation for the time when federal stimulus dollars are no longer available.”

With the new budget restrictions, tuition will increase by 9 percent, and Frank said that CSU sees a “sustainable path forward” with single digit annual tuition increases and low single-digit annual budget reductions without draws against institutional reserves. He said this plan, one he does not anticipate ever fully executing, will prevent the university from coming to a “financial cliff,” without stable funding and an absence of stimulus dProxy-Connection: keep-alive

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ns of turning and typically state economies begin to rebound shortly thereafter,” Frank said. “As revenues increase, this plan will be irrelevant (perhaps as early as our mid-year planning for the FY11 budget) and I, for one, will look forward to tearing it into little pieces and burning them in my fireplace.”

Both Frank and BOG Spokesperson Michele McKinney said all the FY10 budget information was presented to the board, its Finance Committee and the CSU community, so when released to the public on July 1, none of the figures should come as a surprise.

“(The cuts CSU sustained in FY09), and the entire budget, have been in the public eye for quite some time and there are no substantive changes,” Frank said. “If we’ve done our job well, people should read about an actual FY10 budget implementation and shrug and think, I thought we already covered that.”

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

By the numbers

$41.8 million

The expenses (including mandatory costs, financial aid, contracts and more) for 2010.

$8.8 million

The available funds (from research, tuition, among others) for 2010.

$33 million

The total shortfall (a lack of revenue, calculated from the difference between expenses and available funds).

$30 million

The amount of stimulus money available for FY10.

$3 million

The amount of roll-over money from FY09.

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