News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 11, 2013

ISU again looking at reduced state funding

Revenue comes up short says state

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University is preparing for nearly $1.4 million in funding cuts, as the state responds to an unexpected drop in tax collections for the first five months of the fiscal year.

On Monday, Gov. Mike Pence announced that state agencies will have to cut their budgets an additional 1.5 percent, while state universities will see a 2 percent cut in funds. That’s in response to a $141 million state budget shortfall.

For ISU, that 2 percent amounts to nearly $1.4 million, said Diann McKee, ISU vice president for business affairs.

As a result, “We will begin to take a look at any discretionary spending and how we can slow that down or what we might be able to postpone or put on hold,” she said.

The cuts apply to operating and line item appropriations for 2013-14.

In an electronic communication to the university community, President Dan Bradley said that over the next few days, he will discuss with his cabinet, governance units and the board of trustees “how we should internally deal with this reduction in revenue. The planning will encompass both this year and next year on the possibility that the decline continues, and the reduction is made permanent or becomes larger.”

ISU and the state are currently about halfway through fiscal year 2014, which ends June 30.  Bradley believes “it should be possible to reduce expenditures this year by about $700,000 through a slowdown in discretionary spending and careful review of staff positions that come open. The balance can probably come from tuition revenue that exceeds budgeted revenue.”

In preparation for the possibility that this is a more long-term trend, he has asked the provost to work with the deans to identify five or six of the faculty positions which were approved for next year, which can be advertised as “depending on funding.”

“It would be my expectation that prior to the end of the spring semester, we will know if we will need to postpone those searches. Our student recruiting efforts for next fall look promising, but it is still early,” he wrote.

ISU has been fairly conservative in its budgeting, Bradley said, “and I expect that a measured response now that looks at the situation from both the immediate and the long-term impact will serve us well. The economy of the state and the country still appear to be improving, which, along with our stronger positions relative to recruiting and retention, will allow us to weather the precautionary measures that the governor has taken.”

Bradley further stated that ISU “is in solid shape financially and will be able to meet its obligations to all of its constituents.”

Kara Brooks, press secretary for Gov. Pence, said that “given the magnitude of the total shortfall of $141 million and the persistent monthly misses (four out of five so far), it is very likely this reduction will be permanent for fiscal year 2014. It does not apply to fiscal year 2015,” she stated in an email.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.