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Potential Budget Reduction

TO:    University Community

This morning, the University of Louisiana System presidents conducted a teleconference meeting with System President Randy Moffett.  The purpose of that discussion was to consider State Commissioner of Higher Education, Sally Clausen’s, email communication of Wednesday afternoon indicating that potential state revenue short falls could result in a second budget reduction this year amounting to 22.3 million dollars for the University of Louisiana System.

While no actual dollar amounts have been shared from Baton Rouge, if our mid-year experience holds true, Nicholls will face a 7.75 percent budget cut amounting to upwards of $1,729,342.  Clearly, such an amount coming in the ninth month of the 2009-2010 fiscal year and less than two months from the close of the academic year, creates unprecedented challenges.  More specifically, there is some question whether or not the university could even reach its share of any actual further budget cut.

While we have no firm information regarding the extent of any budget cut that may be looming ahead, days or months from now, we must take some proactive steps while there is still time to do so.  Clearly, the state will not know how serious the situation is until the March revenue estimates are available in mid-April.  To do nothing in the meantime is unacceptable and does nothing to protect the financial integrity of the university or the services it provides to its students.

To that end, I am moving immediately to suspend all discretionary spending.  While many of us realize that 90 percent of the 2009-2010 fiscal year budget is spent or committed through encumbrance at this point, we must still do what we can in order to free up available resources.

The volatility of the current budget situation at the state level is such that conditions are changing moment to moment.  I will keep the university community informed as I receive any new information, instruction or guidance.

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