Thursday, September 4, 2014

From Melody's Desk: September 4

I know that many of you have heard by now of the budget planning exercise that Governor McAuliffe has asked all state agencies to undergo for this year.  I thought it would be helpful for you to see the message that the President has delivered to the VPs and Deans regarding this budget reduction which is copied in below.

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 10:12 PM
Subject: Message from President Sullivan to Deans & Vice Presidents - Budget Reductions FY 15 & FY 16

Dear Colleagues,

The Governor has recently asked all higher education institutions to plan how we would return 5% of our FY 15 state appropriation and to plan for a 7% reduction in FY 16.  For the current year, this amounts to about $6.5M.  We were also instructed not to consider a mid-year tuition increase nor to reduce financial aid.  When the Board of Visitors meets next week, we will discuss with them our approach to reducing state funds.

Budget cuts in the middle of an academic year are always difficult.  Our main objective will be to protect instruction and other services to our students. We are not planning for across-the-board cuts in the current year and you will not receive specific reduction targets.  We have salary increases programmed for implementation in October to keep us competitive in the market.  These increases will not be affected.

The reduction for FY 16 increases to $9.14M.  We will incorporate conversations about targeted areas to produce these savings during the budget development process for FY 16 which will kick off shortly.  We will need each of you to bring your best ideas forward and I would encourage you to begin thinking about the lowest-priority activities or programs that are not mission-critical and can be scaled back or phased out in the near term.

Terry Sullivan
This message is forwarded by Chief of Staff Nancy Rivers on behalf of President Sullivan

The important take-away is that we will not have across-the-board cuts this year and the upcoming University staff and faculty merit increase will proceed.  It is also important to remember that we are a critical part of the strategic plan for the University in both pillar 2 (“will enhance institution-wide infrastructure and services”) and pillar 5 (“steward resources to promote excellence and affordable access”).  

For FY16 as we will be asked to consider where we can reduce expenditures, we will all need to be cognizant of activities and programs that we do that are not the most critical and could perhaps be phased out.  It will be our jobs to continue to ask ourselves:  How can we extend our organizational excellence efforts, improve business processes, deploy effective and essential managerial reporting tools, support research and student activities, and provide high value business and financial services in the best possible way?