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Officials issue budget update

University officials are putting in place a plan to address the mandatory state budget cut ordered by Ohio Gov. Bob Taft last month that spares departments from across-the-board decreases in mid-year.

Taft ordered a 6 percent cut in state expenses, but because of enrollment fluctuations this translates for Miami to a 7.3 percent reduction. Miami officials, concerned about further drops in state tax revenues yet this fiscal year, have been preparing for an 8.9 percent reduction in state support. At that level, the cuts would amount to $6.3 million for the Oxford campus, $1 million for Middletown and $250,000 for Hamilton.

In his Oct. 16 memo to faculty and staff announcing that a state budget cut had been ordered, President James Garland indicated he hoped to "buffer the cutbacks as much as possible by using university reserves and accumulated cash holdings."

Provost Ron Crutcher and Vice President Richard Norman have been working with other vice presidents, deans and those who direct physical facilities, residence and dining halls, athletics and other large units to see how much could be absorbed by reserves and reductions in central administration expenditures.

"Barring a much larger state cut, we believe we can deal with the shortfall without putting a strain on limited departmental budgets and without eroding services to students," said Garland. "Some departments will be affected by the limited hiring freeze, because some positions will be left vacant for a while. Also, program improvement funds will be limited and planned improvements will be slowed down."

Garland added that by using reserves and one-time money the university can hold any divisional cuts this year to about 2 percent on average across the university and a similar amount the following year.

"At this level, we believe the institution can absorb the cuts without dire consequences to essential programs. It is important to note that this is a permanent reduction in state support, but by using the reserves and one-time money we can spread the impact across two fiscal years," said Garland.

"At this time there are no plans to raise tuition and fees in mid-year, but it is important that we keep our options open in case further, unanticipated cuts from the state should materialize," added Garland.

Date Published: 11/08/2001
Volume: 21   Number: 15

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