January 16, 2009
2009 Issue 6 

University prepares for budget challenges

President establishes Web site to keep campus informed on budget issues

President Jon E. Quistgaard

As you are probably aware, the Governor announced in late December an unallotment of $20 million each for the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Since the announcement, University leadership has continued to carefully monitor information coming from St. Paul pertaining to the current year and projected economic shortfalls in the next biennium.
So far, reductions in the Office of the Chancellor trimmed the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities unallotment figure to about $16.27 million. As a result, Bemidji State University's share of the unallotment for the current fiscal year is $588,466. This amount will be removed from the University's budget this month.
On January 27, the Governor is expected to announce his proposal to balance the state's budget for the 2010-11 biennium. The prospect of experiencing further financial reductions is virtually certain. As a result, we will need to be even more strategic in all of our spending decisions going forward as well as in all future investments.
Although it is possible that the gains we have made together since 2001 may be threatened, I believe that we have often made some of our best long-term decisions in times of challenge. Imaginative thinking, along with a sharpened focus, has enabled us to forge forward, giving us an invigorated and renewed sense of purpose.
We must, therefore, build upon the budget realignment experience of 2007 and continue our planning efforts in order to prepare ourselves for a future of more limited resources and increasing expectations.
A University Budget Forum has been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 4, in Education-Art 115. Two identical sessions are planned - one session from 9 - 9:45 a.m. and another from noon-12:45 p.m. Information presented at these sessions will reflect the administration's understanding of the Governor's budget balancing proposals and their implications for the University.
We do not anticipate final legislative or system decisions regarding reductions until late spring or early summer. In the meantime, it is my goal to keep the campus as informed as possible about external developments impacting our future.
In keeping with that goal, I have established a budget-related Web page at http://www.bemidjistate.edu/offices/president/budget. At this page, we will be posting updated information. In addition, by using the electronic suggestion form at the site, you can share your ideas about reducing expenditures, increasing revenue or accomplishing both at Bemidji State.
As I have noted on a number of occasions, Bemidji State University is not alone in having to address financial challenges; nearly all of higher education nationwide is experiencing the downturn. At Bemidji State, we can be heartened by an enrollment picture that remains positive and by programs that are bustling. I am confident that we, as a University community of very bright and talented colleagues, will successfully find solutions and opportunities to our latest challenge.
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