The state's Joint Budget Committee (JBC) on March 10 voted 5-0 to accept the $519 million in general fund state appropriations for higher education contained in the budget submitted by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Feb. 15.
The $519 million figure represents an additional $36 million reduction to the higher education budget, on top of the already $89 million reduction that will take effect when federal stimulus funding expires on June 30. This will bring the total higher education budget reduction in the 2011-12 fiscal year to $125 million below this year's budget.
The JBC will have updated revenue figures as they work to finalize the budget after the presentation of the March state revenue forecast by the Legislative Council and Office of State Planning and Budgeting on Friday, March 18.
“We anticipated and are prepared for our $4.9 million share of the $89 million reduction,” says Metro State President Stephen Jordan. “Plans were carried out to cover it through a combination of base budget cuts implemented in FY2010, the termination of rightsizing and stimulus projects, and tuition increases.”
Metro State’s share of the additional $36 million reduction recommended by the governor is estimated at $2.2 million, bringing the College’s total reduction from FY2011 to FY2012 to $7.1 million..
“We are calculating how to manage our budget in the coming fiscal year,” Jordan says. “Tuition increases and, potentially, an internal reallocation of resources are possible. Each area of the College will be directly affected by the limited ability to increase budgets for staff and operations, particularly as enrollments increase.”
According to Jordan, Metro State’s five-year Financial Accountability Plan (FAP), approved in November by the CCHE, created an opportunity for some fiscal certainty for the College and sets a framework for working through budget fluctuations.
Jordan reminds the Metro State community that while the March revenue forecast will provide the JBC with a clearer picture, the final budget, known as the Long Bill, will likely not be hammered out until late April or early May.
In the meantime, the College’s Financial Exigency Committee continues its work on developing principles and criteria for evaluating programs, which will be used if it becomes necessary to develop recommendations for program reductions.
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