The University of Toledo’s budget formulation process became a little clearer, though not much easier, following the unveiling of Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget last week.
Higher education funding for state share of instruction across all Ohio public colleges and universities — the primary state subsidy for undergraduate and graduate education — would fall nearly 13 percent, to $1.735 billion for fiscal year 2012. Funding would increase by 3.7 percent for fiscal year 2013 in the proposal.
Most of the funding decrease is due to the expiration of federal stimulus dollars. UT’s share of that money in FY 2011 is $18.6 million, and UT President Lloyd Jacobs said officials have been preparing for this budget cycle knowing that money would not be replaced.
“For the last 18 months, we’ve done everything we can do to reduce our work force through attrition and have held essential vacant positions open with the intent to move people from eliminated positions into open ones,” Jacobs said, stressing that the University will continue to work to minimize the effect of cuts on people.
Jacobs said the governor’s proposal provides a framework within which UT can begin finalizing its budget process, but that it is important to remember this is just the first step of the legislative process.
The budget proposal now heads to the Ohio House of Representatives and then to the Ohio Senate, where legislators are able to make revisions. A final bill must be signed by the governor before July 1.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we will operate on a parallel track with the legislative process and start to narrow down which cuts and revenue enhancements in the various colleges and administrative units we will enact based on the menu of items the units have prioritized during budget hearings these past several months,” Jacobs said.
Ideally, a budget will be presented to the UT Board of Trustees for consideration in May, depending on the pace of action in Columbus, Jacobs said.
In addition to addressing funding, the governor’s proposal also:
• Calls on colleges to submit plans by 2012 to transition 10 percent of their undergraduate degree programs to a three-year timeline; they have until 2014 to complete outlines to transition 60 percent of their programs;
• Requires professors to teach an additional class every two years;
• Asks the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents to prepare a plan to define the way in which universities can obtain charter status, in which they would face fewer state regulations but also receive less state subsidy; and
• Seeks to reduce the costs of remediation at colleges and universities.