Trustees Approve Updated Temporary Budget Amid Uncertainty Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

September 21, 2020 | News, UToday
By Staff



As The University of Toledo continues to be impacted by uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution will continue to operate under a temporary budget through the end of the calendar year.

The UToledo Board of Trustees approved Monday a $348.9 million six-month operating budget to guide the University’s academic and clinical operations, which takes the place of the previous three-month temporary operating budget. A permanent fiscal year 2021 budget will be considered at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board on Dec. 21.

The temporary budget is needed due to a number of contributing factors that lack clarity, including the University’s ability to continue in-person courses during the pandemic, unpredictability in auxiliary revenues such as housing, dining and athletics and ongoing efforts to stabilize the University of Toledo Medical Center.

“In this time of great uncertainty, we are thankful for the campus community’s support to address deficits caused by the pandemic, the state and federal stimulus dollars to help offset those losses and the support from Ohio leaders to preserve a good portion of state share of instruction dollars,” Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO Matt Schroeder said. “It is our hope that the extra time and caution we take now will better position us to potentially restore some reductions and strategically reinvest in the institution during the second half of the fiscal year.”

UToledo’s Rocket Restart plan has provided for a safe start to the academic year thanks to the efforts of students, faculty and staff complying with the Rocket Prevention Principles, as well as the University’s efforts to de-densify campus and enhance cleaning and disinfecting measures. Asymptomatic testing also is helping provide additional data on the positivity rate of COVID-19 on campus to guide decision-making.

In recognition of Interim President Gregory Postel’s leadership on the safe restart and the need for consistent and strategic direction, the UToledo Board of Trustees announced its plans to delay the start of a presidential search. Postel’s contract as interim president will be extended through Dec. 31, 2022.

“We appreciate Dr. Postel jumping right in during this challenging time. His strong leadership is needed as we navigate through this pandemic that is having a dramatic impact on higher education and healthcare,” Baker said.

An update on the stabilization efforts at UTMC also was provided at the Board of Trustees meeting. Net income for the first two months of the fiscal year, including one-time COVID stimulus funding, reflect a $6 million profit for the period. Other operating revenues, which consist primarily of retail pharmacy, contract pharmacy, and contract lab services, have also exceeded preliminary budget forecasts.

The hospital has experienced growth in admissions in key service lines, such as the emergency department, inpatient and outpatient surgeries, all of which have rebounded as UTMC reschedules procedures that had been delayed during the shutdown in the spring due to the pandemic. Now, with patient volumes rising significantly, along with federal and state stimulus funding, the hospital is beginning to hire again for a number of key positions.