Campus Resources and Planning Committee

February 11, 2011

 

 

 

Present:           Bart Finzel, Sara Haugen, Mark Privratsky, Margaret Kuchenreuther, LeAnn

            Dean, Dave Aronson, Andy Sharpe, Dave Swenson, Martin Seggelke, Sydney

Sweep, Carol Marxen

 

Guests:            Colleen Miller, Michael Korth, Janet Ericksen, Sandy Olson-Loy, Pareena

Lawrence, Jim Hall

 

 

 

Minutes of December 3, 2010 were approved with minor amendments.

 

Announcements

 

Bart said we could have two potential costs associated with budget recommendations that come from this committee—the costs associated with not solving the budget deficit and postponing needed solutions to a structural problem or the costs associated with potentially unnecessary program cuts that may arise if we are overly aggressive in our budget reductions.  As we wrestle with a budget deficit, everyone will have a different viewpoint and we will have differences of opinion.  It is likely we will have pointed conversations and sharp exchanges between us.

 

Continue budget discussion

 

Colleen solicited questions after distributing hard copies of the high-level financial model.  Mark asked about student fees.  Sandy reported that AFRC does all of student services fees.  The technology fee is rolled into campus fees.  Colleen added that fees have to be approved by the Board of Regents before they become official.  Margaret asked if the big jump in campus financial aid in the past year was most attributable to stimulus dollars.  Colleen reported that in December when she was putting this model together, she did not have information regarding our financial aid obligations for next year.   She will be getting information from the Twin Cities, but at this point, we donÕt know what will replace the stimulus funded financial aid.  Andy added that U promise program will be changing significantly this year.  New incoming students will be evaluated for the new U promise plan and will ultimately receive less money.  It will be a big deal for our continuing students because we will have already made a commitment to them.   Colleen said the Twin Cities will provide us with an estimate of the costs.  Bart questioned why fringe costs have gone up so much in the budget projections even though our salaries did not change.  Colleen said that fringe costs have been increasing significantly for several years but that the increase wasnÕt apparent in prior budgets because the number of staff had decreased in prior years.

 

Bart reminded the committee that the Chancellor made a presentation to this group and to the campus regarding possible mechanisms to address the budget shortfall.   He asked members to think about what our recommendations to her will include.  Some potential recommendations to address the expected budget shortfall include:

 

Permanent:

1)    travel

2)    stimulus funded positions

3)    use of contingency for appointment buy outs

4)    not filling some vacant positions

5)    unspecified reductions

6)    reductions in campus financial aid

 

One time only:

1)    one month voluntary leave by some

2)    capturing some additional Òcarry forwardsÓ

3)    use of reserves

 

Other:  the tuition revenue assumption in the budget is tied to an expected enrollment number.  Bart has asked Bryan Herrmann to give the committee some guidance.

 

Questions and concerns about each recommendation are listed below.

 

Travel: 

LeAnn questioned how we could capture travel without affecting SE&E budgets and because some departments donÕt have a travel time at all, perhaps this could be left at the discretion of each unit.  Martin wondered about the different travel budget lines that exist—faculty research travel, all university committees, admissions recruiting, etc., and asked if there is a way to specify necessary cuts rather than just overall travel cuts.  Cheryl added that grant-funded travel and FREF should not be on the table for consideration.  Sandy reported that the MnSCU system has frozen out-of-state travel allowing only for special exceptions.  Bart concluded by saying that the consensus seemed to be that discretionary travel could be reduced by some amount.

 

Stimulus funded positions:

Mark said he finds it hard to believe that these are all essential positions when we havenÕt had them before and they werenÕt previously funded.  He believes that by default, these positions should go away.   Martin agreed.  Sara added that some positions could be funded by the strategic reserve if they are deemed critical.  Zak asked if some positions identified might be considered crucial.  Bart concluded by saying that the stimulus funded positions are included in the base salary line and may be a place to realize some budget savings.

 

Buy outs:

Bart wondered if this might be a good use of contingency funds.  Dave suggested that positions could be restructured or replaced at a significant savings.  LeAnn said she was uneasy about this unless there was some assurance that units would not be put in a difficult position.  Sandy added that a staff perspective is very different from a faculty perspective.  In the Plant Services and Student Affairs areas, this has been used effectively.   Voluntary layoffs have been successful and there have been significant cost benefits.  Andy suggested that divisions/departments look at potential buy-outs and that any proposed buy-out demonstrate salary savings.

 

Not filling some vacant positions:

Martin wondered how much specificity we can have here.  During his time here, he has witnessed the shrinking of faculty numbers and he believes we are already at the bare bones of our curriculum.  He assumes this is same in every discipline on campus.   He would say this is not an option.   Perhaps we could review vacant positions.   Pareena said this is already current practice.  Bart stated that the consensus of the committee appeared to be that any policies differentiate between academic positions and non-academic positions.

 

Bart said he has invited Bryan Hermann to attend the next meeting and asked what information the committee needs from him to project student numbers for next year..  Margaret would like to know what are the trends in applications and the yield rate and how we compare from last year.  In addition, she would like to know the size of our graduating class this year and how is total student body projected to grow.