The following e-mail was sent to faculty and staff on Feb. 1:
Good morning, colleagues,
We have a town hall meeting scheduled tomorrow to discuss the budget, and I hope you can attend or view the webcast. For those of you who cannot, the following summary may be informative to you.
On Monday, January 24, 2011, Governor Sandoval delivered the State of the State address. During his address he provided an overview of the Governor’s Recommended Budget for the 2011-2013 biennium. The budget proposal addresses the state revenue shortfall that has widely been discussed in the media. The extent of the revenue shortfall and impact particularly on higher education is misleading.
On Thursday, January 27, 2011, NSHE’s reaction to the executive budget recommendations was shared in a pre-session budget hearing before a joint meeting of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees. Although the Governor’s recommendations provide some new approaches to supporting higher education will more budget flexibility, the serious budget reductions have the potential to negatively impact students and institutions for years to come.
Despite various media reports and other “spins” on the mathematics, the basic fact is that the executive budget recommendation cuts state support to higher education by $162,456,349, and for CSN this is a reduction of $26, 762,251 over the biennium. Here are the details, along with proposed changes in employee compensation that pertain to CSN.
Employee Compensation and Benefits:
- The furlough of 1 day per month is proposed to end on June 30, 2011, and is replaced with a 5% salary rollback for all positions;
- Continued suspension of merit pay and/or step increases;
- Continued suspension of longevity pay for applicable classified positions;
- Changes to the health insurance programs – this information has previously been provided by PEBP and Human Resources;
- Changes to the contribution rate for employees under the PERs program and RPA. The current rate of 11.25% is increased to 12.25% beginning July 1, 2011.
- The Governor’s Recommended budget includes a reduction in each year of the biennium of:
- FY 2011-12: ($15,485,182)
- FY 2012-13: ($26,762,251) change from FY 2010-11 levels
On February 2, 2011, in a town hall meeting for all CSN employees, we will review the implications of the executive budget recommendations and discuss in general terms the impact on CSN, preparatory to a special meeting of the Board of Regents the next day.
Further, some faculty have asked if we could provide talking points about the budget. There are many points in the document, CSN’s Value to Nevada. Here are several extracts:
Key messages: Stop the Cuts, Invest in CSN and Higher Education, Reform Funding
- Seventy percent of CSN’s budget is from the state.
- Registration fees have increased by 26.48% since 2007
- CSN has reduced staffing by 5% since 2007 and student enrollment has increased by 12.6% (FTE)
- CSN is the largest higher education institution in the State of Nevada – with headcount enrollment per semester of 44,000+
- CSN receives the lowest amount of general fund support per student FTE in the state
On February 3, 2011, the Board of Regents will hold a special meeting to discuss the NSHE budget and the impact of budget cuts. Further, over the coming months, the Board of Regents, NSHE institutions, and the System Administration Office will work with the Legislature to finalize the operating budget and to identify ways we can improve the higher education budget for the 2011-2013 biennium.
We must be mindful that a reduction in general fund support will occur for the coming years, and we will be working on various strategies to respond to final funding levels. Over the past four years, we have worked collaboratively in response to budget cuts that have been imposed, as cuts were first implemented in January 2008. Some examples of areas that will continue to be assessed include, but are not limited to:
- Number, locations, and operations – of access sites and centers;
- Opportunity for consolidation of administrative units;
- Review of registration/tuition levels;
- Evaluation of vacant positions;
- Contractual obligations;
- Operating budgets
- Review of all non-state operating budgets
- Review of all institutional supported activities (non-state) as well
Finally, I’ve been asked if an increase in tuition and registration fees would cover the proposed cuts. NSHE staff estimate that community college pricing would need to increase at a minimum of 73%, from $69.25 per credit hour to $119.48 per credit hour, just to keep budgets flat.
More news as we have it, and should you have questions, please let me know.