Dear Nicholls Faculty and Staff,
I know that most of you, like me, have followed the news reports about the just-concluded legislative session in Baton Rouge with a mixture of hope and apprehension. We all hoped that the governor’s proposed cuts to our university’s budget for 2009-10 might somehow be restored, and that the budget reduction plan I announced this spring might not have to be implemented to its full extent.
Thankfully, higher education in our state has been spared the full brunt of the proposed budget cuts. Even though the state has managed to restore some of the funds we were warned might be taken away, the cuts are a fact and they are going to have a significant effect. The state is no longer providing a level of support that enables Nicholls to fully fund our educational programs and pay our operating expenses as we have in recent years.
None of us will know the precise amount of state funding for higher education in 2009-10 until the governor signs the new state budget into law. When he does, the Board of Regents will work with the board of the University of Louisiana System to determine how state funds will be allocated among Nicholls and its sister institutions. Only then will we know exactly how much money Nicholls stands to receive—and how much our budget reduction will be—for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
I regret to say that we must implement the campus budget reduction plan as it stands. The uncertainty of the 2009-10 and future state budgets, the funding of salaries and fringe benefits for the 20 faculty that were given a one year notice, the ever-increasing costs for such expenses as insurance and utilities—all of these factors mean that Nicholls must curtail spending, even though the cuts in state funding for our university may not be as severe as had been indicated.
As soon as we learn more, I will give you an update. Until then, we must prepare ourselves to accept the changes that are about to happen at Nicholls.
Stephen T. Hulbert