To: University Community
From: President Robert Glidden
By now you may have seen reports in the media regarding some of the upcoming fiscal challenges facing Ohio University. I want to share with you our approach to meeting these challenges.
Our current estimates of revenues and expenditures suggest that we need to adjust the Athens General budget by some $11.8 million over the next three years. By "adjust" I mean that we must find a combination of revenue enhancements or expenditure reductions that will total $11.8 million. The immediate challenge is to find $6.35 million in adjustments for the coming year, FY05.
While we do not presently anticipate any mid-year budget reductions as was the case in FY04, we must be analytical and decisive in making the right decisions for the future. In order to do that we will scrutinize operations across the University for efficiency and effectiveness, all in the context of our mission statement. Toward that end, we will convene budget advisory committees with campus-wide representation to assist us in this planning process. These work groups will examine such areas as the institution's capacity for growth, duplication of service in both academic and academic support areas, and levels of compensation in comparison to the competitive marketplace. For more information on these committees, their goals and their objectives, please visit the Budget Update Web site at www.ohiou.edu/budget/.
While these committees evaluate such institution-wide issues, we will also be asking individual planning units to provide a functional analysis of their services and offerings. From all of these studies and analyses recommendations for both revenue enhancements and expenditure reductions will be considered.
As you know, it has been our position that we must work to avoid any layoff of University employees and we have been largely successful to date in achieving that goal. Unfortunately, the loss of more than $21 million in state support over the last two years, the likelihood of little or no additional help from the State in the immediate future and the limitation of a six percent tuition cap, all suggest that we are compelled to reduce our workforce even further. There is not enough flexibility left to absorb budget reductions without reducing payroll. We will continue our soft hiring freeze on staff positions, meaning that we will review carefully all replacements of staff who retire or resign. The more we can effect workforce reduction through attrition, the fewer layoffs there will be. I might add that we are also committed to offering competitive salaries and even modest increases within this unfortunate scenario.
I hope that we can conduct our analyses and make decisions in time to present a preliminary budget for FY05 to the University Board of Trustees in April. That means we must begin earnest planning now. I ask for your cooperation in helping us achieve an open and fair review of our options so that we can make the most informed and sensitive choices and assure the institution's ability to emerge from these difficult times with our educational mission intact and advancing forward.
In the coming weeks, we will be calling upon many faculty and staff members to assist us in this important work. On the budget update Web site you can find a list of ad hoc Budget Advisory Committees that will be appointed to assist with the various kinds of study and analysis needed to help us make wise decisions. I know that the same spirit that distinguished our collective efforts a year ago will be present once again. During this process we will keep you current with our progress via our Budget Update WWW site linked from the Ohio University front door and through our Outlook publication as well.
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