Financial times are tough at Kansas State University and cuts are going to hurt, said President Kirk Schulz during an open budget forum Tuesday.
"I expect you all to say this is going to hurt because we are not going to be able to do something that our campus community is used to," Schulz told a crowd of roughly 200 with more participating online from the Salina campus. "When we close the Beach Museum two days a week, we are going to put a sign up. What we don't want the people saying is that Kansas State is doing the same thing they always have, so they must not have needed the money in the first place."
Schulz said he wants the public and legislature to understand clearly the impact cuts will have.
The forum, sponsored by K-State's Faculty Senate, was held a day after Schulz released $15 million in budgetary proposals for fiscal year 2011.
Schulz described the cuts as strategic -- not across the board -- and said the core mission of the university was to be preserved. A concerted effort to reinvest in needed faculty and staff was also at the heart of the recommendations.
Since day one of Schulz's administration, budgetary matters have been a critical talking point. Over the past several months the budget process has been focused on identifying $15 million in combined budget reductions and new revenue. This is the expected impact on K-State of state-level budget cuts.
Among the items listed in Schulz's recommendations are:
* $8 million in targeted reductions over two years including: the suspension of new Targeted Excellence programs; a 10 percent reduction in athletic operations; reducing university funding to the National Institute for Strategic Technology Acquisition and Commercialization, or NISTAC; and reductions in several administrative budgets. Included in the administrative portions is reduced funding for the Beach Museum and McCain Auditorium
* $5 million in revenue for colleges to be generated by a $10-per-hour instructional support fee; and
* $2 million increase in the tuition budget by bringing existing enrollment growth into
the base budget.
Schulz commented on the proposed $10 per-credit-hour fee, which is presently being considered by the Student's Long Term Tuition Strategies Committee and has yet to be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents.
"The idea of any per credit hour fee addition is that this would be reinvested in the colleges where those fees are being generated," he said. "They would be able to take some of those dollars to hire faculty to put in the classrooms. It's meant to address instructional needs and is also meant to be a sort of incentive."
He said he was working with deans to help target those dollars to make a better case for how they are to be spent.
At the forum, faculty commented on the seeming de-emphasis on research funding and things that could be done to enhance and coordinate instruction across K-State's three campuses.
"It’s important that we continue to keep a thriving research enterprise but we need to continuously look at what our funding modalities are," Schulz said. He said additional analysis would help determine where additional research funding will have the desired strategic impact.
Some faculty addressed the impact of cuts on morale.
"I'm concerned about what we can do to keep morale up," Schulz said. "One big morale killer is for people to not know what's going on. While the news may not be good, I want to at least keep people informed so they know what actions we are taking."
Schulz also said that in the immediate future, significant salary increases are unlikely.
Schulz's full recommendations are available online at http://www.k-state.edu/budget/initiative.html