UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Preparing for Big Budget Cuts

102710Feature_BudgetTalkThe state’s budget deficit is expected to be much greater next year. Each of the system’s schools is planning accordingly.

“I think it will be difficult for the next two years,” Chancellor Linda P. Brady told the Staff Senate at its Oct. 14 meeting.

“Planning for 2011-13 Budget” was the topic of the chancellor’s talk. She had spoken at the most recent Faculty Senate meeting about the budget cycle as well.

Officials foresee a 3.2 billion dollar budget gap for 2011-12, brought on not only by a weakened economy but also expiring temporary taxes and loss of federal stimulus funding.

UNCG as well as other UNC campuses have been directed to plan for five or ten percent cuts, for next year.

Anticipating that the budget gap could ultimately be larger than projected, Brady believes universities, including UNCG, must be prepared for an even higher cut.

Provost David H. Perrin and the vice chancellors have been working on plans, for cuts at five and ten percent. The draft plan is due to UNC General Administration Oct. 29.

“We have operated for the last two years – and we will continue to operate – on a set of budget principles,” she said. They were last updated in May 2009. “We do not expect to change those principles.” The budget principles can be viewed here.

She noted that this year, UNCG has a single Tuition and Fee Committee co-chaired by Dr. Alan Boyette and Dr. Cherry Callahan, with two sub-committees, which will look at potential increases in tuition and fees and their impacts.

She anticipates receiving their recommendations by the end of October.

“We need to move our recommendations on tuition and fee increases to our Board of Trustees by the December meeting,” she said.

The Expansion Budget requests include three items for 2011-12:

  • Additional $1 million operating funds for Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering
  • Approximately $750,000 for staff/programs designed to improve retention and graduation rates
  • About $1.1 million for enterprise systems infrastructure and support (such as Banner and Blackboard), which the chancellor currently must fund from other sources.

Priorities that UNCG will submit for the Six-Year Capital Plan include:

  • A replacement for McIver Building, which would house classrooms, offices and labs and provide a single home for Nursing. This new building and other buildings currently under construction will necessitate an additional chiller plant.
  • Jackson Library addition and renovation, including a UNCG Data Center in the lowest floor.
  • Renovations to Eberhart Buidling and Moore (Nursing) Building.

One of the non-appropriated projects that are on UNCG’s list includes a new Student Recreation Center, to be built in University/Glenwood mixed-use neighborhood. The bonds would be funded by students’ facilities fee.

There are many uncertainties, she said. For example, in the spring, there’s the possibility they could be told a different budget-cut figure. Also, “We don’t know if furloughs will be available for 2011-12.”

She indicated she would like the option of furloughs next year.

“If we end up taking a $17 million dollar cut [10 percent], that could translate into as many as 250 faculty and staff. If a cut of that magnitude is required, then we need to seriously look at furloughs, which would reduce the number of employees we would have to lay off, understanding that all of us would essentially take a pay cut. But at least we would be employed, we would have benefits, we would be paying taxes – which actually helps the state get out of this.”

Another unknown is what, if any, state-mandated tuition increases there may be – and whether those funds would remain with each respective university or be used elsewhere.

The hour-long talk ended with a question and answer session. She fielded about a dozen questions, including one about the expansion beyond Lee Street – where she said the increase in residential housing and learning communities will enhance retention and graduation rates.

Visit the university’s budget web page for updates and information related to the budget.

By Mike Harris
Photograph by Mike Harris