Green: Budget cuts proposed in 2017 now final

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Green: Budget cuts proposed in 2017 now final

Chancellor Ronnie Green

After review by and recommendations from the Academic Planning Committee, Chancellor Ronnie Green has finalized $3.4 million in University of Nebraska-Lincoln budget cuts proposed Nov. 15, 2017.

These reductions, which do not eliminate any academic programs, were developed in response to the budget shortfall that existed before the latest round of budget cuts now under consideration by the Nebraska Legislature.

The Academic Planning Committee, a university-wide group responsible for formulating and recommending academic and planning goals and initiatives for the institution, conducted a public hearing Jan. 17 on the proposals, which included such items as using existing fees to pay certain expenses previously covered by state appropriations and reducing the summer school budget. No one testified on any of the proposed cuts during the hearing.

“The APC supports the adoption of all of the proposed budget reductions and considers them to be sensible measures in the face of financial constraints,” APC chair Ken Bloom, professor in Physics and Astronomy, wrote in a transmittal letter notifying Green of the APC’s response. “However, the APC notes that all of the reductions impact the mission of the university and should not be considered painless.”

In his letter of response, Green agreed with Bloom and thanked the committee for its work.

“I do appreciate your pointing out impacts of the proposed reductions,” he said.

The now-finalized cuts and their impact as described by the APC:

Reducing pooled salary funds in chancellor’s office ($48,000) Eliminating vacant office associate in chancellor’s office ($51,416) “Loss of these funds will prevent hiring in strategic priority areas.”

Reallocate state-appropriated-funded staff to Technology Fee ($523,540) Reallocate state-appropriated-funded staff and operations to Online Course Fee ($1,245,485) “ . . . Those funds could have been reinvested into other campus priorities to meet the university’s enrollment, outreach and research expenditure goals.”

Summer school budget reduction ($337,763) “The impact may mean reduced course offerings, fewer courses being developed for three-, five- and eight-week delivery, an impact to the education experiences of students during the summer as course capacity is increased, and/or less support to faculty . . . However, each college will determine how it handles the reduction so the exact impact is difficult to determine at this point.”

Reduce Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources greater Nebraska utility budget ($150,000) Vacate Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center ($127,328) Reduce IANR self-insurance budget ($125,000) Eliminate facility renovation permanent budget ($40,925) Reduce Rural Future Institute budget ($500,000) Eliminate Virology Center Program of Excellence budgets ($264,750) “Loss of these funds will reduce IANR’s ability to invest strategically in other priority areas in the future.”

Although Green and other top leaders last month described some possible academic program reduction proposals in response to state budget revisions now being debated in the Legislature, those proposals are separate from the previous reductions proposed to the APC in November. In addition, the process to enact any new proposals will not launch until the state budget is finalized and the chancellor invokes the university’s budget reduction process and establishes a budget framework in conjunction with the APC. Before those reductions can be finalized, they, too, must be submitted to the APC for review, public hearing and recommendations to the chancellor.