June 5, 2009
State Budget Update
To the Campus Community,
Those of you who have been
following the media coverage regarding the state's budget for fiscal
2009-2011 are already aware that the N.C. House of Representatives' House
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education finalized its budget
recommendations yesterday. While it is still very early in the state budget
process, we want you to know that the subcommittee's recommendations
contain an 11.2 percent cut to the University of North Carolina system.
I would like to emphasize
that we do not yet know what the final state budget will look like. There
are several steps to go before the legislative budget process is complete,
and this may not occur until late July. We are working on a plan to
accommodate this very substantial budget reduction, as are all of the other
campuses in the University of North Carolina system.
Since salaries and benefits
constitute 84% of our state budget, an 11 percent budget reduction, if
enacted, would most certainly affect our workforce. At that level of budget
cut, we estimate that we would need to eliminate approximately 37 jobs.
While we will use the 23 positions that are currently vacant to meet some of
the budget reductions, the rest will need to be made up of positions that
are currently filled. If this occurs, we can anticipate some reassignments,
some reductions in schedule, and some reductions in force (RIFs). Because
the budget creation process is a fluid one, and because our legislators have
some very difficult decisions to make, we expect it will be at least a month
to six weeks before we know the full ramifications of the budget cuts,
including whether we need to eliminate jobs, and if so, how many.
Earlier this week, UNC
General Administration requested detailed information from each campus about
how an 11 percent budget cut would affect our academic enterprise. At the
urging of President Bowles, UNC Asheville has provided this information to
the members of our boards (Trustees, Foundation, Alumni, and Parents) and
asked them to contact our state legislators to encourage their support for
the University system. This information is intended to help them understand
the dramatic and negative effects of an 11 percent budget reduction and its
threat to the quality of higher education that is a hallmark of the UNC
system. Below is the text of the email sent to our board members.
The next step in the state
budget process is for the full House Appropriations Committee to finalize
its version of the budget and send it to the House floor for a vote. Once
the budget is approved in the House, it will be sent to the Senate for
approval. It is anticipated that the Senate will reject the House version
of the budget, and that conferees from both the House and the Senate will be
appointed to a Conference Committee to construct the final budget. Both the
House and Senate will vote on the final budget, which then goes to the
Governor for approval or veto. Budget allocations and reductions could
change at any point in this process. We anticipate this process continuing
through mid to late July.
We will communicate more
definitive information to the campus community as soon as we know it.
Text of email to UNC
June 3, 2009
Dear UNC Asheville Friends
These are trying times for
our stateís legislative leaders who are wrestling with budget shortfalls in
what is the most difficult financial crisis in many years. Our universityís
future is at stake, and we need your help.
Please take the time during
this next week to contact members of the House and other leaders in the
General Assembly to let your voice be heard and to show your support for
preserving the quality education that has become a hallmark of our UNC
The N.C. House of
Representatives is finalizing a draft budget that could mean a system-wide
cut of 11.1 percent in 2009-10 and 14.2 percent for 2010-11. As President
Erskine Bowles has said (www.unca.edu/news/budget052209.html),
this will cause severe and lasting negative impact on student access, and on
the quality of education our universities can offer.
At UNC Asheville, those
potential funding reductions would severely threaten our stature as one of
the leading public liberal arts universities in the nation.
To put these potential
funding reductions in perspective, you should know:
- An 11.1 percent cut at
UNC Asheville will mean the loss of $4.4 million of a state
appropriation of $40 million.
- This additional cut
would stretch our already thin resources even thinner, especially where
it counts. Thirty-seven jobs, from teaching faculty to support staff to
maintenance workers, will be eliminated. That is about 5 percent of our
total workforce of 719 faculty and staff. Since we donít have teaching
assistants or graduate assistants, these reductions are already reducing
our ability to deliver the curriculum to students.
- Cuts at this level put
the academic core at risk. Our accreditation for our university could be
refused by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools because we canít
afford to fulfill our mission. Departmental accreditation in areas such
as Management, Chemistry, Engineering, and Education (including teacher
licensure) would be compromised. Fewer and less well prepared K-12
teachers is moving in the wrong direction.
- The House proposal
would change the tuition increase approved by the UNC Board of Governors
so that in-state tuition would increase from the recommended 2.1% or
$50, to 8% or $187. For nonresident undergraduate students, the tuition
increase would be revised downward from 3.2% or $437, to 1.5% or $200.
Increasing resident students' tuition while decreasing nonresident
students' tuition doesn't seem prudent, as it would negatively affect
N.C. residentsí access to our university.
- Some crucial areas of
the university will see staff reductions including Campus Safety and
Emergency Personnel, Pre-College Programs, and Assessment, which could
threaten the universityís re-accreditation scheduled for 2012. Staff and
faculty reductions will mean that UNC Asheville will not be able to
fulfill our commitment to our community partners. Current commitments
which are vulnerable are with the area hospital, city, and the county.
- Our Repair and
Renovation funds are also threatened which could lead to additional
losses of $981,000 and mean that some of our current buildings and
systems will deteriorate. As an example, the roof of Lipinsky currently
has leaks and would not be able to be replaced, compromising a building
on our main quad that is used every day. [As of June 5, the proposed
reversion of Repair and Renovation funds does not appear as austere as
originally anticipated. However, there are several more steps to the
budget process, and R&R funds remain at risk.]
- Layoffs of faculty and
staff or additional furlough or salary cuts in the coming fiscal year
will result in stigmatizing our university, making it very difficult to
recruit faculty and staff in the future. This would be a blow from which
it would take decades to recover. Such additional cuts would make it
harder to retain our best faculty and staff.
We are all facing economic
challenges, and we pledge to do our part to make wise spending decisions.
But UNC Asheville and your university system need your help now. Please
contact legislators and other state leaders this next week to tell them how
these proposed cuts will impact our students, our educational system and the
future of our state.
for Chancellor Ponder and