March 25, 2009
Dear Campus Community:
In this time of economic uncertainty, we know that Keene State College's budget is secure through July 1, 2009, primarily because we have been able to draw on reserved funds. Unlike the downturns we have weathered in the past, however, no one can predict how long this current economic instability will last, and many of the factors that will affect the College's budget (including legislative action on the governor's recommendations and faculty contract negotiations) have yet to be finalized.
I believe that if we continue to use the spring semester to reflect and plan properly, we will be prepared to act on a series of strategies that can sustain us through the next 18 months. To meet ongoing budget challenges, we have already joined together as a campus to evaluate the economic structure of the college. Many campus groups - representing various employee constituencies - are working to provide budget recommendations that will be considered when we have a better understanding of the long-term situation. These include the Budget and Resource Council; the cost center managers, coordinated by the vice president for Finance and Planning; the cabinet, informed by the director of Human Resources; and the Financial Aid Office, led by its director and the Enrollment Planning Committee. We will continue to ask each of you to participate in this process and contribute suggestions. We will wait to consider budget decisions after these groups can report on their findings and more budget information is provided from other bodies, including the Legislature and the Board of Trustees.
The cabinet and I are committed to ongoing, regular communication about our budget outlook. To that end, we will hold more open campus forums, with the next one scheduled on May 1, 2009, time and location to be announced. At that time, the findings of the Budget and Resource Council, the Vice President for Finance and Planning, and cost center managers will be presented for your consideration. I will present any additional information impacting the budget available at that time.
The current factors that drive revenue are largely decided externally, and the factors over which we have direct input largely fall on the expense side of the budget. The timeline for receiving budget-related information brings additional challenges, as it spans from March through the fall of 2009.
To establish a context for the budget-related information that we need to consider, I have worked with the provost and vice presidents to create a timeline outlining the key budget-related information we will be working with, and when that information is expected. This information will be posted on the "Budget Challenges" website and updated regularly as new information comes in. Please note that all dates are tentative and may be delayed by factors that are externally controlled.
This is a time when we must live with fiscal uncertainty. Supported by thoughtful study and careful planning, we will be ready at a moment's notice to choose among the best options to make budget decisions for the College.
Helen F. Giles-Gee