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November 7, 2003

Geoffroy: Cuts likely to result in layoffs

by Anne Krapfl
With one-third of the fiscal year completed, layoffs appear inevitable in Iowa State's plans to cut $8.3 million from its budget.

President Gregory Geoffroy said that the latest round of cuts, on the heels of four years of reduced appropriations from the state, doesn't leave university leaders with many options. "All flexibility is gone from the budget. Given the magnitude of these cuts, we've had to take a number of painful steps," he said earlier this week in announcing plans to balance the university's revised budget.

How many layoffs, and where, will emerge in the next two to three weeks as unit leaders make decisions about how to absorb their shares of the cut.

An Oct. 10 directive by Gov. Tom Vilsack requires Iowa State to cut 2.5 percent of the FY04 state appropriation, or $5.8 million. In addition to the governor's order, the university must reduce spending to compensate for a $1.5 million shortfall in tuition income resulting from lower fall enrollment and a potential $1 million shortfall in reimbursement for costs associated with large research contracts.

Geoffroy previously announced that three areas -- student financial aid, the admissions office and campus fuel and utilities fund -- will not be reduced. Reductions at Iowa State are targeted, not across-the-board.

As announced on Nov. 3, the four divisions of Iowa State's general university budget -- academic affairs, business and finance, president's office, and student affairs -- will make cuts totaling $6.9 million as follows:
  • President's office, $1.3 million (8.1 percent reduction)
  • Business and finance, $1.2 million (3.5 percent)
  • Student affairs, $246,000 (1.9 percent)
  • Academic affairs, $4.2 million (1.8 percent)
The remaining $1.4 million reduction will be achieved by 2.5 percent cuts required by the governor's order to other campus units that receive direct state funding: Agriculture Experiment Station, Cooperative Extension, Leopold Center, Livestock Research, Institute for Physical Research and Technology (IPRT), Small Business Development Centers and the ISU Research Park.

Key pieces in each of the four administrative area's budget reduction plans are outlined below and will be detailed in the coming month. The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, must approve the university's plans for reducing the FY04 budget.

Academic affairs
Individual unit reductions will vary from 0.97 percent to 10.36 percent, with reductions to the colleges consistent at 1.84 percent (see chart).

The office of the vice provost for undergraduate programs will be eliminated and Graduate College oversight will be moved from the office of the vice provost for research and advanced studies to the provost office.

Vice president for academic affairs and provost Benjamin Allen said the goal is stronger coordination between undergraduate and graduate programs. All the functions of the two programs will undergo careful review to determine which ones are retained and reassigned, and which ones are eliminated.

"Many of these programs will still exist," Allen said. "The oversight functions for them are being streamlined. Our goal remains to provide a quality education to both undergraduate and graduate students."

Allen, the college deans and vice provosts have begun an extensive review of the long-standing college academic and administrative organization. The review will be completed within the next three months and significant changes are likely, he said.

"This review underscores just how seriously these budget cuts are impacting the university," Allen said. "The traditional system of individual colleges devoted to particular academic disciplines has worked very well in helping Iowa State carry out its land-grant mission, but the budget reductions of the past several years have caused severe strain in this system. We must consider reorganization, including the possibility of combining colleges and other academic units."

President's office
The athletics department will receive $560,000 less in general university support. A $425,000 reduction to funding for strategic initiatives will reduce Iowa State's ability to support new faculty positions and retain existing faculty. The offices of university marketing, university relations and the ISU Alumni Association collectively will absorb $160,000 in reductions. Governmental relations' budget will shrink by $50,000.

Business and finance
University support to WOI Radio, University Museums and the Iowa State Center will be reduced by nearly $585,000, collectively. It is expected these units will rely more on increased user or program fees and private gifts. The functions of the risk management office will be transferred to other appropriate university offices, resulting in administrative savings. Recent legislation has eased some of the requirements for printing services regarding state printing contracts and for campus asset recovery, so staff reassignments or layoffs in those areas are likely. Facilities planning will reduce support for project planning (as projects wrap up), saving more than $240,000.

Student affairs
Three searches, including the search for an assistant dean of students, will be put on hold until the next fiscal year and several student positions in the Memorial Union, international education services and dean of students office will be eliminated. Vice president Tom Hill said one-time cuts this fiscal year may be different from long-term changes planned to take effect in FY05.

Academic Affairs
FY04 mid-year reductions
of general
fund base
Office of the Vice President & Provost    $548,091    10.36%
Research Administration/Graduate College/ Research Park    $209,011    0.97%
Undergraduate Programs    $74,199    1.84%
University Extension
   Cooperative Extension
   $515,283    1.59%
College of Agriculture
   Experiment Station
  Leopold Center
   $822,362    1.60%
College of Business
   $214,504    1.84%
College of Design    $176,246    1.84%
College of Education    $203,545    1.84%
College of Engineering    $625,049    1.84%
College of Family and Consumer Sciences    $156,818    1.84%
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences    $1,203,098    1.84%
College of Veterinary Medicine
  Livestock Disease Research
   $346,072    1.84%
Library    $319,364    1.84%
IPRT, including special purpose appropriation    $70,624    1.84%
Plant Sciences Institute    $93,309    1.84%
Total    $5,577,575    1.81%

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