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UW President's Statement on Budget

May 19, 2009

President Tom Buchanan today (Tuesday) issued the following statement to the University of Wyoming faculty and staff regarding UW's budget:

As I have indicated in previous communications to the university community, declines in energy commodity prices over the past months will result in substantial reductions to the revenues in the state's general fund for fiscal year 2010. The most recent estimates suggest that the reduction will require at least 10 percent of UW's $183 million annual general fund appropriation. An annual $18.3 million budget cut to UW's "block grant" is no small matter.

Based on this anticipated reduction to UW's budget, I asked Provost Myron Allen to coordinate a campus-wide budget planning process. This process resulted in white papers from constituent groups across the university, a set of principles to guide budget decisions, the Provost's report, and a summary of budget-reduction strategies. All of these materials are available on WyoWeb (instructions at the end of the document). Discussions with faculty and staff have been robust and enlightening, and your participation in this process represents the best of shared governance. The input that faculty, staff, and students contributed to the white papers is invaluable and will remain the foundation on which final budget decisions are made.

Reductions are likely to affect our budget in future years as well. The premise of UW's block grant from the state is that the university will prioritize our expenditures to accomplish our mission. All our expenditures are beneficial, but difficult financial times require prioritization. This theme appeared repeatedly in the white papers.

At the Board of Trustees meeting prior to commencement, the Board unanimously approved University Plan 3 (UP3) which serves as the framework for UW's priorities. The Board also reviewed all of the materials generated by the campus-wide budget planning process, and we had a thorough discussion about the projected budget reductions. The Board agrees that UP3 and the campus-wide process provide a sound basis for making necessary reductions consistent with the university's core missions-teaching, research, and service. While UW will necessarily be doing fewer things, we will continue to pursue excellence in all of our endeavors. Our students can be assured that they will continue to receive the highest quality education possible.

There remains the detailed work necessary to bring UW's institutional budget in line with the financial resources available for fiscal year 2010. The Board has authorized me to craft and implement a fiscal year 2010 budget that is consistent with the Governor's direction, which I anticipate receiving later this month. Some actions have already been implemented: a hiring "squeeze" for vacant positions, a shift to compensatory leave instead of payment of overtime, and a five percent reduction of unit support budgets. These measures have already caused some inconvenience, yet they represent relatively small steps toward an $18.3 million cut.

I want to make certain there is no misunderstanding regarding the next steps in our budget process. Within the next two weeks, UW will be notified of the state funds that will be available for fiscal year 2010. Budget decisions will need to be finalized within a few days of that notification. The complexity, time constraints, and magnitude of the fiscal situation will not permit additional campus discussion and debate. However, I will advise the campus as soon as I make those decisions.

I want to assure all members of the UW community that my budget decisions will be grounded in UP3 and the results of the budget planning process. Some of the decisions will be distressing, especially to those who are personally affected. It will not be productive to engage in sustained discussions as to the wisdom of other alternatives; any reductions of the magnitude I anticipate will be shocking to some constituency. Nevertheless, even though tough decisions will have to be made, I believe that UW will remain a strong institution with a bright future. In just a few weeks, we will begin a new fiscal year with a new budget that will demand all of our attention.

In closing, I want to remind the campus community that in recent years, UW has enjoyed strong support from state policymakers. It may be several years before the state's fiscal situation will return to that level of support. But we must not lose momentum.

I am committed to ensuring that the university emerges from the current economic situation in the strongest possible position to continue the remarkable progress of the past decade. I ask you to join me in that effort.

Instructions for gaining access to budget planning materials on WyoWeb:

-- Log in to WyoWeb, click on the groups button on the upper right hand side near the logout button.
-- Click on the "Groups Index" tab of the window that opens up.
-- Click on "Administrative" on the left hand side.
-- Find the "Budget Planning" link in the middle portion of the window and click it.
-- Click the "join group" button.
-- You will get the Group Membership Policy to which you have to check both boxes and click the "join" button.
-- After you join the group, click on the "files" link on the left hand side and you will see all of the folders containing the Budget Planning documents in the middle of the window.
-- To find the file you want to view, choose a folder in the middle of the window and click on it. The files inside will display on the right hand portion of the window.
-- Click on the file you want to view or right click on the file and choose "save as" or "save file as" (or "save link as" in Firefox).


Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2009

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