ASC announces budget revision due to state cuts

(01-27-2009)

"Adams State College is in sound financial condition. What we have to do is doable," college President, Dr. David Svaldi, said regarding the impact of state budget cuts.

The Governor's Budget Office recently announced a budget rescission in response to shortfalls in state revenues. The Department of Higher Education budget was permanently cut by $30 million in the current year. As a result, Adams State must cut $557,000, or 4 percent, from this fiscal year's budget.

"I am relieved to report that it appears Adams State will meet this initial round of reductions. For the time being, current employees are not impacted by this first round of reductions," Svaldi added.

College administration this week identified roughly $557,000 to meet the cut through the following:

  • improved spring semester enrollment and revenue
  • canceled, unfilled, and frozen positions
  • adjustment of funding sources for specific offices
  • savings from unspent operating budgets
  • employee suggestions for savings

Svaldi will formally accept/reject individual recommendations to reach the $557,000 amount later this week.

It is likely that the state will make more cuts to higher education budgets next fiscal year, with Adams State's share estimated to be $800,000, said Bill Mansheim, Adams State vice president for finance and administration. In total, the college's state support will be reduced by an estimated $1.4 million between the current year and next. The college's total operating budget is $38 million, with $13 million from state general funds.

"Our much harder task is making an additional $800,000 in cuts for the next academic and fiscal year, while continuing the first $557,000 in cuts," Svaldi said.

The college's expanded Executive Council will continue to meet to develop recommendations, he added. Administration plans to finalize budget decisions by Jan. 30 for this fiscal year and by Feb. 28 for FY 2009-10.

The council includes Svaldi, Mansheim, Provost Michael Mumper, Associate Provost Frank Novotny, Dean of Students Ken Marquez, Associate Provost Diana Wentzel, and Interim Athletic Director Larry Mortensen.

College employees are being encouraged to submit cost-saving suggestions via a website The site provides updates on the budget process and a forum for suggestions and discussion.

The college held two informational meetings last week for all college employees to explain how Adams State will address cuts in state funding for fiscal years 08-09 and 09-10.

"We're not looking simply to make cuts, but for ideas that will increase enrollment or earn new revenue," Svaldi emphasized. "Personally, I don't favor across-the-board approaches. Any budget reductions must be strategic.

The college must also replace $460,000 of programmatic support from the ASC Foundation, as a result of investment losses. That funding primarily covered incentive scholarships, student work study funding, admissions recruiting travel, and the Summer Bridge program. The college had already adjusted the budget in response to a projected revenue shortfall of $166,000 due to an enrollment decrease in the fall 2008 semester.

"In the past, we relied on the Foundation too heavily, and that needed to be changed," Mansheim said.

ASC Provost, Dr. Michael Mumper, noted several positive trends that will help the college weather these cuts:

  • fall to spring student retention improved by 5% over last year
  • Extended Studies enrollments and revenue continue to grow and exceed budget
  • Plachy Hall and Student Capital Fee construction projects remain on track
  • graduate student enrollment is up

He added that additional revenue is expected from a new MBA program, new sports programs, the Counselor Ed program online, and housing initiatives.

"We are looking for additional programs like these," Mumper said. "We've done a lot of good things, but we've got to sustain them."

By Julie Waechter