The Council on University Planning and Budgeting talked about Eastern’s budget and a Cost and Efficiencies Initiative update was given at its meeting Friday.
The committee met on Dec. 2 and a letter was developed and sent out to the vice presidents asking for ideas they had implemented in their areas for cost savings and efficiencies.
President David Glassman said a lot of people were talking about the possibility of getting a budget passed for higher education in January as he mentioned at the last CUPB meeting.
“That certainly is still a possibility, but we’ve had a lot of legislators talking about it being later than January,” Glassman said.
He said they will still monitor what is happening in Springfield, and the presidents of the public universities will be back lobbying for higher education funding to be passed in Springfield on Jan. 13.
Paul McCann, the interim vice president for business affairs, said Eastern is currently $12 million under budget.
“That is good from a standpoint of where we want to be,” McCann said. “We have tried very hard to this point to save money, and what this is saying is we are.”
McCann said when it comes to utilities, they’re going to pay them when they use them.
“We can turn off lights, keep the heat lower, but when it gets cold or hot we have to adjust to those temperatures,” McCann said. “It is a big expense as you can imagine for the campus.”
McCann went over a question he was asked by faculty senate regarding what is in unrestricted funds.
“The bottom line is $26 million is what we use from day to day to operate the university,” McCann said. “When we get money from tuition, when we get money from the state, that goes to put that money back into that account, but that’s what we have in reserves.”
McCann said the number was down about $7 million to $8 million from a year ago.
“We had in the budget a deficit projected for ‘15. We said at that time either we need to cut expenses or we need to use our reserves,” McCann said. “We ended up using some of our reserves, because we ended up not cutting expenses to the extent that we had talked about.”
Kathlene Shank, the department chair of special education, asked about the Monetary Award Program grants.
McCann said the state owes the university about $3.8 million in for the MAP grants.
“Our students have been given $9 million, but not all the students use what has been given,” McCann said. “There is always a little bit of a difference between what is rewarded and what we give out.”
McCann said this money has been borrowed from other funds.
Jemmie Robertson, the faculty senate chair, asked if the goal of 2014 and 2015 was to come out at about $26 million, if they were going to go lower than that, or if the number was going to grow some.
McCann said they wanted to come in even.
President David Glassman said the budget was based on a six point five percent reduction in their allocation from the state.
“What we did with the difficult decision making in the beginning of the year is try to make enough cuts so that we could be in a balanced budget with that six point five,” Glassman said.
Glassman said the amount of cuts that will still need to happen depends on what happens with the legislators,
“So if they say you have to cut 10 percent and not six point five percent, that would be another four percent,” Glassman said. “So let’s say four percent is $400,000, that’s $1.6 million, so we either have to cut things real quick to save that $1.6 million, or you’re going to see $26 million go down to $25 million.”
Glassman said the toughest thing about the whole budget process is not knowing what the allocation for the university from the state will be.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]