HSU planning for 2018-19 budget

January 19, 2018

To the University community:

I want to make you aware of a looming financial crisis for the University and keep you informed of the steps we are taking to address it.

I commented during the Spring Welcome that one of our major challenges this semester will be our budget planning for 2018-19, and the Governor’s announcement last week about his recommended budget for next year has heightened the challenge. He has proposed funding the CSU at a level that is $10 million less than he had previously indicated – and $191 million less than the CSU Board of Trustees requested. Here are three numbers that will illustrate the impending difficulties for the CSU and, consequently, for Humboldt State:

2018-19 budget increase requested by the CSU Board of Trustees: $283 million
Previously committed increases to employee salaries and benefits ($122 million) and mandatory costs ($31 million) for 2018-19: $153 million
2018-19 budget increase proposed for CSU by Gov. Brown on 1/10/18: $92 million

As you can see, the Governor’s proposed increase is $61 million less than the commitments that the CSU has already made to increasing employee compensation and mandatory costs (including health care and retiree benefits), and no provisions have been made to support the Graduation Initiative, enrollment growth, or inflation. Chancellor White’s statement about the Governor’s proposed budget is available here, and the report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office can be found here.

This new information, along with our continuing lower enrollment at HSU, has made our budget situation critical. Under the current circumstances, the University will not have sufficient budget resources to support all of our current activities. Although HSU’s University Resources and Planning Committee has been working on developing a balanced budget recommendation for 2018-19, the Governor’s proposed budget and our projected enrollment have radically changed our fiscal landscape – the University is now facing a potential financial emergency.

In response to this new information and following consultation with my executive leadership team, I am taking the following steps:

  1. We will accelerate the discussion and decision-making process to align our budget with the available resources.
  2. I am asking the University Resources and Planning Committee to provide me with a summary of the feedback received over the past few months during the Phase 2 budget reduction vetting process (by January 24).
  3. We will hold an open forum on February 2 to share a detailed update of our current budget situation with the University community.
  4. We will develop a plan to align our budget with anticipated resources for 2018-19 by February 22.
  5. The University Resources and Planning Committee will review the plan and provide important input on its implementation.
  6. HSU will have a budget plan for 2018-19 by March 29.

The Governor’s proposed budget heightens Humboldt State University’s budget challenges. The University must act now based on the reality of a constrained budget and decreased enrollment scenario so that we can continue to deliver a quality education to our students. Our actions will be informed by the consultative process in which the University has been engaged for the past several months. I thank each of you for your participation in the multiple discussions and divisional team meetings that will inform HSU’s 2018-19 budget plan.

The state budget – and therefore the budgets for the CSU and HSU – will be a work in progress for the next several months. You can be sure that the CSU’s Governmental Relations staff will be advocating strongly for more funding. I will certainly be involved in that effort, too. The next major indication about next year’s state allocation to the CSU will be in May, when the Governor will announce his revised budget for the current fiscal year. In the meantime, we will move forward with a 2018-19 budget plan based on the reality we now face, and we will incorporate new information as it becomes available.

Thank you all for your engagement, your insights, and your commitment to HSU and our students.

With best wishes,

Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.

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