Update on the State Budget

I realize that everyone is anxious to learn more about the budget situation for the upcoming fiscal year. So am I. We have a little more clarity on Gov. Jindal’s executive budget that he proposed late last month. As I communicated to you previously, the recommended budget contains significant cuts to higher education in order to make up the state’s $1.6 billion deficit.

The governor’s budget stated that the cut to public higher education would be $141 million, and he would like to see lawmakers adopt additional measures to further reduce that cut. That figure does not include a $70 million tuition swap. A tuition swap means institutions are allowed to raise tuition but the anticipated extra revenue is taken out of the institution’s state funding; essentially we can’t keep the extra money generated from tuition increases. The governor’s $141 million figure also assumes that his proposal to scale back a tax credit will generate another $372 million for colleges and universities. It is not certain if lawmakers will adopt this approach and the money will materialize. In fact if this contingency funding doesn’t work out, the cut to higher education will be more than $600 million, when you consider increased mandated costs.

I mention all of this to say there remains substantial uncertainty about next year’s budget. I continue to meet with state legislators, members of the business community, higher education leaders and alumni to convey the message that higher education can’t be cut anymore. We have already suffered enough. Any further reductions in our state budget will greatly harm all college students in Louisiana as well as the economic prospects of our state.

We should have a bit more guidance on the level of our cut after the Board of Regents holds its March 25 meeting. I will provide you with an update when we know more. If you’d like to sign up for the University of Louisiana System’s weekly budget briefings, or review past presentations, click here.

Thank you for all of your contributions to the University of New Orleans.

President Peter J. Fos

Governor’s Executive Budget

As you know, today La. Gov. Bobby Jindal released his executive budget for the 2015-2016 year, which includes cuts to higher education in Louisiana. I sent the following correspondence to University of New Orleans faculty and staff.

Gov. Jindal today unveiled his executive budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 15-16). As we expected, it contains cuts to higher education in order to help offset a budget deficit of approximately $1.6 billion. Although the figure is quite a bit less than anticipated, we remain concerned about reduced higher education funding and the toll it continues to take on the University. The executive budget calls for a $141.3 million cut to higher education — every public 2-year and 4-year institution in the state will be similarly affected. The governor also proposed additional means to help make up the higher education shortfall. We are hopeful that state lawmakers will pursue every avenue possible to protect higher education and further close the budget gap.

The governor’s recommendations will serve as a starting point for negotiations during the upcoming legislative session, which begins April 13 and will conclude on June 11. Only then will we know the exact amount of our budget. And with the new fiscal year starting on July 1, we will need to take swift action to meet the deadline of submitting a balanced budget. Faculty, staff and students will have input in the process, and we will communicate with you regularly.

In the meantime, there is a lot of work to be done. University administrators are working closely with the University of Louisiana System, state higher education officials, business leaders, alumni and lawmakers to try to identify solutions that will mitigate the cuts to higher education. The state’s higher education leaders have submitted a letter to Gov. Jindal asking that he support a number of measures to support and protect higher education.

To read the letter, click here.

We are also working diligently to increase public awareness of our plight. Our message can be summed up in a simple question: do you support more education for Louisiana or less? The prosperity of our state and our quality of life is inextricably linked to a healthy system of public colleges and universities. Cuts to institutions prevent educational access and achievement and derail economic growth.

In addition to those efforts, we are creating budget scenarios and devising plans for how we might deal with the various outcomes of the budgeting process. The University Budget Committee will continue its work of analyzing recent spending and making recommendations to me about how to adjust the budget in the upcoming fiscal year. As a reminder, the committee meets regularly on Wednesdays from 9:30-11 a.m. in Library 407. The first 10 minutes of every meeting is reserved for comments or questions from visitors. You can also submit comments and questions to ubc@uno.edu.

I will conclude with one valuable piece of information. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support the University during this important time by joining the Privateer Advocacy Network, which you can click here. It’s a joint effort of the UNO Alumni Association and the UNO Foundation. I pledge to you that I will continue to fight for the University of New Orleans and public higher education in Louisiana. I will provide more updates when I get them. Thank you for all you do for the University.

University Budget Committee

The University Budget Committee meets every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Earl K. Long Library, Room 407. The first 10 minutes of every meeting is reserved for comments or questions from faculty, staff and students. Those unable to attend are encouraged to submit comments or suggestions to ubc@uno.edu.
The University Budget Committee meets every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Earl K. Long Library, Room 407. The first 10 minutes of every meeting is reserved for comments or questions from faculty, staff and students. Those unable to attend are encouraged to submit comments or suggestions to ubc@uno.edu.

This fall, I assembled a University Budget Committee to review our existing structures and work with faculty and staff to provide recommendations during the ongoing academic revitalization and restructuring, which faces more challenges daily in light of proposed changes to the state budget.

Our goals in working together are to ensure open, transparent process and make enlightened data-driven decisions that will help our University to survive, grow and thrive for years to come.

The University Budget Committee first met November 5, 2014. Interim Provost William Sharpton, Brian McDonald (staff, Library), and Wendy Schluchter of the College of Sciences will serve as co-chairs.

Today, after several meetings, the UBC announced that it has established and voted on its charge: “to identify the minimum necessary expenditures to support those activities necessary to the organization to fulfill its organizational mission and keep revenue at the maximum benefit/cost ratio.”

Strategies will involve: 1) analysis of specific units spending over the last three years; 2) development of a budget process going forward and 3) recommendations to the President to adjust the budget to changes in state FY16 funding.

The UBC has created sub-committees to fulfill this charge. The sub-committees and their chairs are as follows:

o   Business Process:  Mike Dauenhauer

o   Budget Process: Warren Davis

o   Guiding Documents:  Darrell Kruger

o   Benchmarking:  Brett Kemker

o   Cost and Revenue:  Steve Johnson

o   Assessment: Edit Bourgeois

o   Student:  David Teagle

The University Budget Committee hosts regularly scheduled meetings Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in Library 407 and reserves the first 10 minutes of every meeting is reserved for comments or questions from faculty, staff and students. Those unable to attend are encouraged to submit comments or suggestions to ubc@uno.edu.

UBC members will report progress regularly at staff council meetings, faculty senate meetings and open forums for students and email announcements to the UNO community. They will also report recommendations to me.

The members of this committee are

Peter Schock‎, English

Wendy Schluchter‎, Biological Sciences

Edit Bourgeois‎; Electrical Engineering

Pamela Jenkins‎; Sociology

James Logan, Jr‎, Management

Brian McDonald‎; Library

William Sharpton‎, Interim Provost

Tiffany Soublet‎, Business Affairs

Michael Dauenhauer‎, Business Affairs

Matt Moore‎, Registrar and Director of Institutional Research

Derek Morel‎, Director of Athletics

Sarah Bergez‎, Director of Marketing

Dale-Ellen O’Neill‎, Director of Student Involvement and Leadership

Warren Davis‎, Associate VP for Facility Services

David Dupree‎, Chief Information Officer

Steven Johnson‎; Dean of COS

John Williams‎; Dean of COBA

Emir Macari, Dean COE

Norman Whitley‎; Interim Associate Provost

Sharon Mader‎, Dean of the Library

Darrell Kruger‎, Dean of COE

Kevin Graves‎, Dean of COLA

Brett Kemker‎, VP for Student Affairs

Kevin McLin, Sr, VP for Marketing and Communication

Tony Gregorio, UNO Foundation

Gregg Lassen‎, VP for Business Affairs

Kenneth Sewell‎, VP for Research

Patrick Linn, Director Auxiliary Services

Lora Amsberryaugier‎, Associate Dean, Library

David Teagle, UNO Student Government President

One undergraduate student representative TBA

One graduate student representative TBA

Theirs is a difficult charge. I look forward to receiving updates from this committee as they go forward.

Peter Fos

Learn More

Click here to learn more about the University Budget Committee.

State Budget Update

Higher education leaders from around Louisiana are working together to help mitigate anticipated budget cuts.
Higher education leaders from around Louisiana are working together to educate legislators about University impacts, needs and demands in a collective effort to mitigate anticipated budget cuts for the 2015-2016 academic year.

I would like to update you on the proposed Executive Budget that Governor Jindal will present to the State Legislature in a few weeks.  As you may have read in the news, the Governor is currently considering how to address the estimated $1.5B budget deficit for the 2015-16 academic year (FY16).  Currently, the predicted decrease to higher education will exceed $300M (the effect to the University of New Orleans will be a reduction of about 20 percent of our total budget).

Today I reached out to University of New Orleans faculty and staff to let them know that higher education leaders from our campus and around the state are continuing to work hard to educate legislators about impacts, needs and demands.  Every day UL President Sandra Woodley and UL System staff are meeting with the other higher education systems, the Commissioner of Higher Education and Board of Regents staff, elected officials, members of the Governor’s staff, and the staffs of the House of Representatives and Senate.  These meetings are resulting in plans which, I hope, will mitigate much of the proposed budget reduction.  I am not certain that each plan will be successful, but I have become much more hopeful over the past few days.  The situation is very fluid.  I will have more to share with you when the Governor submits his Executive Budget in early February.

In the meantime, my message to faculty and staff is to maintain focus on our core mission … to provide the best possible experience for our students in and out of the classroom.  We have a very committed and professional faculty and staff, and a bright, diverse, and engaged student body.  The University of New Orleans is a very special place, and we are all fortunate to play a part in its greatness.

I ask everyone in the UNO community to please continue to do what you do best and try not to dwell on the possibility of another budget reduction.  I pledge to you that I will work tirelessly with the UL System Board members, the UL System staff, our local elected officials, business leaders, and our dedicated alumni to identify solutions to the budget situation and to continue to move our University of New Orleans forward.

Peter Fos