Higher ed a priority, Allen says
State requests budget-reduction plans By John Ashby
Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 6 - September 29, 1994
(Editor's note: Please see accompanying remarks by Gov. Allen and President Torgersen.)
In a budget forum held last Wednesday, Executive Vice President Minnis Ridenour and Provost Fred Carlisle presided at the latest in a long series of budget-cut-related information sessions.
Ridenour confirmed that the university had received a letter from the state Department of Planning and Budget detailing a request for the university's plans to respond to cuts of 2, 4 and 6 percent in the General Fund. The response is due October 17. "What we are being asked to do is put together a budget plan--what is being called a resizing and efficiency plan--not a budget-reduction plan. We have been asked to put together a plan that addresses 2-, 4-, and 6-percent adjustments to the General Fund; (taxpayer dollars.) Earlier on, we had been told these requirements might be for our total Educational and General budgets--our state-taxpayer dollars and our tution and fees." But, Ridenour said, the proposed cuts for Virginia Tech would be limited to the General Fund, which supports the educational and general programs of the university. Ridenour said he believed that other colleges and universities had been asked to respond with plans based on their total budgets.
Ridenour said he expected the response to the request would be tied in with restructuring plans which have recently been submitted to the secretary of education and State Council of Higher Education for approval. "In those plans, we were looking at how the university could redirect resources based on gains in productivity and efficiency. Our thinking is that we should tie all this back to those restructuring plans, and point out that if we lose those gains in terms of dollars, then we would not be able to redirect those (dollars) to efforts in the university, and we would not have the 2-percent productivity gain."
Ridenour said the 2-, 4-, and 6-percent cuts would translate to $2 million, $4.2 million and $6.2 million for the Instructional budget; $500,000, $1 million, and $1.5 million for Research; and $600,000. $1.2 million, and $1.8 million for Public Service and Extension.
Carlisle said that the process for developing the university's response would be very similar to those followed for past budget-cut-plan requests. "We will involve the Advisory Council on Budget and Planning, vice presidents and deans, hold budget forums, and provide as much information as we have." Carlisle said the university would present a strong stand outlining what the consequences of the cuts would be--"what we would not be able to do." Carlisle said the response would also include a statement of circumstances faced by the university during the past five years, i.e., engaging in very serious budget adjustments and restructuring. "We need to let them know that we are operating with $20 million less than what we had, that we have reallocated internally for programs and various mandates--more than $15 million--and are committed in our internal reallocation plan to more than $40 million." Carlisle said the university needed to emphasize that it has been very serious in addressing issues of economy and efficiency.