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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

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Roderick J. McDavis

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McDavis responds to proposed state budget


On Tuesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich released his proposed biennial budget. Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis sent an official response to the budget to the entire OHIO community shortly afterward.

Dear Ohio University Students, Faculty and Staff:

The purpose of my message is to update you on our budget planning work. Earlier today, Governor Kasich’s proposed biennial budget was released. As we had anticipated, there will be no continuation or State replacement of the Federal economic stimulus funding we received in the current biennium. However, there will be a 2.7 percent increase in State Share of Instruction (SSI) funding largely through the reallocation of line items. The range of line item reallocations was broad but for the Athens campus this affected the clinical teaching line in our College of Osteopathic Medicine and the economic development and public service line for the Voinovich School.  The Governor's proposal also provides some assurance that universities will receive the lapsed SSI payment, if the state's economy remains stable and in balance.

We estimate the combined effects of the changes in Governor Kasich's proposal to be a net decrease of $11.8 million to Ohio University’s Athens campus, a reduction of $1.5 million in state funding for our College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a combined reduction of $2.9 million in SSI to our Regional Campuses.  Governor Kasich's proposal addresses college affordability by implementing a cap of 3.5 percent increase on tuition and fees at Ohio's public colleges and universities for the next two years.

Beyond the news from Columbus, Ohio University's health care consultant has reduced its original projection for increased health care costs for the Athens campus to $2.9 million in the coming year. Our projections for utilities cost increases in the coming year at the Athens campus remain at $600,000.

While the news today is better than originally projected, we still must make difficult choices.  The state budget process has just begun and there are many aspects of the proposed budget that require study and research to understand the potential implications for our students, faculty and staff.  Even so, we must pursue the budget strategies announced in February including a transition to Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) planning and budgeting. We will move forward with the Early Retirement Incentive Plans and Voluntary Employment Separation Plans, and will continue our efforts to achieve non-personnel savings (procurement, travel, utilities, and the vehicle fleet), cost sharing (health care and parking), and revenue generation in the hope of reducing the need for program redesign and involuntary separations.

We have already done considerable planning, and now we will begin the first phase of our RCM analysis, establish proposed planning unit targets, and develop other aspects of our multi-year planning approach.  We have revised the budget timeline and posted it at www.ohio.edu/provost/upload/Revised-Budget-Timeline-WEB-03152011C.pdf.  The first stage of the timeline sets targets and includes discussion of the targets with planning unit heads and the university community. The second stage includes the development of scenarios to meet the targets and discussion of the scenarios with planning unit heads and the university community. Four budget forums will be held during the course of the process to aid our discussions.

I encourage you to become an active, informed participant in the budget planning process. Please review a "Budget 101" presentation compiled by John Day, associate provost for academic budget and planning, available online at www.ohio.edu/provost/upload/Budget-101_March2011.pdf. Additional "Budget 101" segments will be provided as we move along the budget planning process timeline.

This is an extremely difficult economic period, during which colleges and universities must demonstrate the central role we play in the economic revitalization of our state through job creation, technology transfer, and the encouragement of entrepreneurship.  We must hold Ohio University up as a place that tackles difficult challenges with expertise and commitment, and then be sure that we emerge strengthened and more focused for the future.

Cordially,
Roderick J. McDavis
President