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Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader sent the following message to faculty and staff on Feb. 28, 2017.
I’m writing to update you on the status of our budget deliberations since our Feb. 3 open forum, and to thank those of you who took the time to attend this important meeting on a Friday afternoon.
Across the university, faculty, staff and administrators have engaged in a lot of planning since that meeting, so here is an update on where things stand with our budget today.
At the state level, the situation remains very fluid. During our Feb. 3 budget forum, we were facing the potential of $450 million in statewide budget cuts in fiscal year 2018. Now, that number is $570 million — and it could change again before this day is over! Given this fluid situation, trying to forecast our budget needs for the coming fiscal year is very challenging. Nevertheless, over the past several months, we have been working together to develop budget realignment scenarios to prepare for these potential reductions. The leader of each division on campus submitted budget scenarios to Vice Chancellor Walt Branson by the end of January. Since then, he and I, along with our entire cabinet, have been reviewing these scenarios with the goal of developing a fiscally responsible approach to budgeting that will ensure Missouri S&T’s continued success.
Protecting our academic core
Throughout this planning process, we are guided by an overarching philosophy: we must preserve the academic core of our university to the fullest extent possible, preserve our revenue streams, and move forward strategically. We are reviewing our organizational structure at all levels — from the top down — to determine ways to streamline our operations and processes. Our goal is to become a more efficient and effective organization. We are considering some administrative restructuring that ensures our revenue-generating operations are not harmed as a result of budget reductions.
Based upon the recommendations we have received, and based on what we know today about the state budget outlook, we are considering budget realignments of 4 to 5 percent on average for non-academic operations and from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent for the colleges and academic departments. Once again, this is in keeping with our overarching philosophy.
This scenario only brings us to the break-even point. It does not yet create additional fund pools for investment.
Our budget work is far from complete. And we continue to build scenarios based on uncertain information. Our budget plan assumes a modest increase in tuition, but it is not guaranteed that the University of Missouri System Board of Curators will approve our proposal. It is also based on assumptions related to projected enrollment for the fall of 2017, and forecasting enrollment is not an exact science. So these, along with the state budget situation, are the variables we must work with in our planning.
I will continue to keep you apprised of our progress as together we refine these budget scenarios. We hope to be able to share more detailed information soon and to host another forum for campus wide discussion.
Cheryl B. Schrader, Ph.D.