CSUâ€™s budget may be back on the chopping block after Gov. John Hickenlooper submitted his revised 2011-12 budget Monday that includes another $36 million cut to state higher education funding.
The cut, which would drop funding for colleges from $555 million down to $519 million, falls squarely between the optimistic and pessimistic funding scenarios CSU officials discussed during the universityâ€™s Budget Retreat on Jan. 28 and 29.
During the retreat, Executive Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda said in the optimistic scenario where state funding stayed at $555 million, CSU would have a hole of about $9 million to fill with a 5 percent budget reduction of about $11.5 million.
In the pessimistic scenario where state funding could drop to $500 million, CSU would have about $20 million to make up for by cutting its budget by 10 percent, or about $23 million.
Hickenlooperâ€™s proposal puts funding in between the two scenarios, so CSU will likely have to cut its budget by more than 5 percent for fiscal year 2012.
Last yearâ€™s state higher education allocation included about $130 million in backfilled federal stimulus money, which has dried up. Without that money, Hickenlooperâ€™s proposed cut comes to a $125 million net decrease in higher education funding from the current year.
According to the Denver Post, that would translate into $877 less per college student for the 2011-12 budget year, which begins in July.
But the higher education cut makes up only a small part of the total $570 million in budget-balancing Hickenlooper, a Democrat, plans to make on top of the budget that former Gov. Bill Ritter, also a Democrat, proposed in November.
Public K-12 education would take the brunt of the budget slash, with a $375 million reduction in funding, amounting to a cut of about $500 per student, according to the Denver Post.
In addition, the plan calls for the shuttering of a state prison in Las Animas. Bonny Lake State Park could also be closed, and services at three other parks could be scaled back.
Neither CSU nor the governorâ€™s office could be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Managing Editor Jim Sojourner can be reached at email@example.com.