Academic Senate Budget Committee

Meeting Notes

April 8, 2010

3:39 p.m.

McMullen 305

 

 

Members Present:

Bruce Brumley

Steve Coffman

Lorrie Steerey

Sandie Rietz

Kay Streeter

Craig McKenzie

Liz Tooley

LeAnn Anderson

DíAnn Campbell

Terrie Iverson

Stacy Klippenstein

Shelly Anderson

Susan Stewart

Michael Barber

Diane Duin

John Cech

Tammi Miller

Tasneem Khaleel

Karen Heikel

Mary Susan Fishbaugh

Gianna Vanata (student)

Kurt Laudicina

Ronald Sexton

Dean Hansen

Susan Balter-Reitz

Linda Wham

 

A.Introduction:Lorrie Steerey, Committee Chair

 

Dr. Steerey noted that of the $1.6 million in cuts we have this year (FY10), only 23% came from the academic budget.

 

B.Review of the Situation:Ron Sexton, Chancellor

 

Dr. Sexton stated that when the Committee met in Fall 2009, he attempted to communicate all the moving parts of the budget situation.Many parts are still moving now, but most of the major players are agreeing on the Montana outlook, which is not a pretty picture.When the State accepted the stimulus funds, the question was raised then of how the state will back-fill once that stimulus money is gone.There is no way the legislature can back-fill those funds now.There is no indication at this time that there will be any state-funded increases in healthcare costs.

 

The Chancellor noted that MSU Billings has been carrying about $1.6 million in temporary cuts from year to year.This year, we have made those cuts permanent.The Board of Regents has begun discussions of tuition increases and other revenue streams.The University of Montana is working on a plan to move to a four-day work week to be implemented in Fall 2012.

 

Dr. Sexton stated that the real impact will hit us in 2013, when the stimulus funds are gone.At best, the State will be $63 million in the red.

 

C.State of Montana Revenue Predictions:Terrie Iverson, Administrative Vice Chancellor

 

Ms. Iverson noted that, for the State of Montana, there was a $231 million decrease from FY09 to FY10.For the 2011 biennium, they had originally predicted a positive balance of $282 million, but we have since lost about $349 million, leaving us a $63 million negative balance for this biennium.For the 2013 biennium, the predicted deficit, which includes the loss of stimulus funding, is $465 million.Of that deficit, the University Systemís share is about $4 million.

 

Ms. Iverson stated that by 2015, we should be back to 2008 funding levels.In those five years, there will likely be no pay increases, no healthcare costs increases, or any other increases.

 

It was cited that these budget predictions from the State do not currently take into account the new healthcare legislation and issues with Montana property tax collection.

 

D.FY2010 through FY2013:Liz Tooley, Budget Officer

 

Ms. Tooley noted that things are getting better for FY10.The Governorís reduction has gone from 5% down to 2.5%.The University of Montana reallocation (for increases in FTE on the UM side) has been reduced from $450,000 to about $45,000.Over the next few years, the fixed costs have gone down for healthcare increases because those increases will not be state funded, but rather employee funded.We are also going to get the tuition increase from Bozeman permanently built into our baseólast Fall we thought we were going to lose that funding.

 

Ms. Tooley stated that there is talk of changing the funding model.Currently we are funded based on FTE, but there is discussion of funding based on completed student credit hours instead.If this is implemented, it will be a huge change.

 

Director Tooley also noted that we are trying to do all of our 10-11 biennium cuts in FY10, which includes the Governorís 2.5% cut, if they will let us.According to Bozemanís calculations, which just arrived today, this amounts to around $287,000.

 

The question was raised as to how our FTE increase of 210 this year pays off.Dr. Sexton responded that we spend about $9,000 per student, but we only got around $660,000 for that 210 increase in FTE.This is basically a game we canít win.However, absorbing more students into sections is more efficient and helps a lot.

 

The question was raised as to how many Chinese students we have.Chancellor Sexton stated that we do not count them until we have them.We currently hope to have 20-40 Chinese students this Fall, and we are on track to get 200 in the next three years.

 

Dr. Sexton also stated, regarding the FY10 cuts, that there is not much left that can be cut from Administrative Affairs.He could have cut more from his Chancellorís budget, but instead he funded several post-retirement agreements.He also noted that in regard to the Senateís question about how many faculty lines have been cut in the last 10 years, only two lines have been cut since 1999.However, the lines have been moved around.

 

Ms. Tooley noted that from FY10 to FY11, we have increased our instruction percentage of funding from 46.5% of the total budget to 47.7% of the total budget.Dr. Sexton noted that an increase of 1% is about $1 million.Ms. Iverson noted that we are the lowest funded per student in the University system.We are funded at about $9,000 per student, while other units are $11,000 and $12,000 per student.

 

E.Questions Raised by the Academic Senate

 

Regarding the Enrollment Reserve, Dr. Sexton stated that we know from past data that we can lose 200 FTE from Fall to Spring.We must have a large enough reserve to cover that loss, and that means we have the largest enrollment reserve in the MUS.Itís also entirely possible that when the economy turns around in Billings, we will have an enrollment drop.

 

Regarding making the Grants Office self-funded using indirect costs from grants, Chancellor Sexton noted that indirect cost amounts are set by the granting agency.Some give none at all, so you have to have another means to fund, at least partially, the Grants Office.

 

Questions regarding the eLearning budgets were also raised.Michael Barber, Chief Information Officer, noted that eLearning is moving into Information Technology.Much of the eLearning budget is staff.The mentoring program is going away, but there will be coordinators working in conjunction with the Deans.Dr. Sexton noted that there have been concerns about the inappropriate use of funds in eLearning, so it is being moved to the most efficient place, which is I.T.Other issues impacting eLearning were cited by the Chancellor, including the ďVirtual Community CollegeĒ project, the MSU consolidation of services efforts, and the fact that there may be no funding for the eLearning Office in Helena in the future.

 

Karen Heikel, Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning, noted in response to Senate concerns about leases for the downtown offices, that many of those leases are multi-year leases.However, as they begin to run out, they should be re-evaluated.

 

Dr. Sexton noted that we cannot see the financial records of the Foundation.Anyone can make a donation and restrict how those dollars are used, but it is the Foundationís job to protect and manage those funds.Itís not public information.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 5:07 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted by Rita J. Rabe Meduna