President announces moves to stabilize budgets in fiscal 2016, 2017

February 22, 2016 | UToday
By Jon Strunk

Praising the progress the University has made in the last seven months, UT President Sharon L. Gaber announced in a letter to campus Feb. 17 that challenges still remain and additional actions would need to be taken to stabilize the University’s budget for the current fiscal year as well as FY 2017.

“As many of you know, we face a number of budgetary pressures this year that were sparked by a decline in our enrollment last fall,” Gaber wrote. “As I have said, I recognize that our reality was not created overnight, and that there are not quick or easy solutions. However, I am determined to address these challenges head on and move past them.”

Asking the campus community for its help, Gaber announced that Larry Kelley, interim chief financial officer, would be reaching out to division and college leaders to identify a 1.5 percent stabilization reduction to the operating budget for FY 2016 and 3 percent to the entire budget for FY 2017.

“College deans and vice presidents will have discretion regarding how best to meet these targets,” she wrote. “I anticipate this as the first step in a process that incentivizes units to look for ways to generate increased revenue by allowing some of it to be kept by the unit.”

A number of steps were implemented prior to this decision, the president wrote, pointing to discussions across campus with administrators, deans, business managers, faculty senate, staff and student leaders, and many other stakeholders that resulted in:

• Changes in enrollment management;

• College and administrative consolidation;

• Exploring all possible cost savings;

• The recapture of utility savings;

• An eight-month position hold; and

• Presidential scrutiny and approval on compensation increases.

“We must grow and correct our way out of this history that incorporates annual budget cuts. I have no interest in repeating this exercise in the future, and I know you will agree with me,” she wrote.

“I truly believe that The University of Toledo is poised for growth in the coming years, but we must first shift from how we have operated in the past if we hope to achieve different outcomes in the future. And with your help, I am confident we will get there.”

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