Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

2018-19 Divisional Budget Update

President giving a presentation

August 16, 2018
Provost Larson’s message to Academic Affairs

In my May 2, 2018 All Division email message, I wrote about the CSU budget – as we understood it at that time – and the upcoming task of resetting our spending patterns to achieve a balanced budget. On July 23, Chico State received notification of its budget allocations from the CSU (see coded memos(opens in new window)). At the system level, the CSU received a $197 million incremental increase in its recurring budget. This included $75 million designated for the Graduation Initiative 2025 and $122 million in general needs mostly dedicated to compensation and benefit increases.

The Division ended the 2017-18 budget year with a deficit of $4.2 million ($2 million central, $2.2 million colleges) that we covered through our shallow reserves.  If we were to continue spending in a similar fashion, the Division’s reserves – even with the better-than-predicted budget situation – would dwindle to less than $6 million by the close of the 2018-19 fiscal year. With a general fund budget of $140 million, this reserve of 4.3% is not enough to fund even one month of the Division’s payroll with benefits. 

Informed by this context, the Division’s leadership has been working hard to prepare a budget for 2018-19; one that addresses deficit practices through belt-tightening and starts realignment toward a strategic budgeting environment with more unit-level control. The Provost’s Advisory Council (PAC) provided extensive feedback to the many iterations of our budget from late spring through the summer. We finalized the Division’s 2018-19 budget on August 14, 2018. You can view this budget online (AA Planned Sources/Uses. I encourage you to compare the 2018-19 summary to the 2017-18 summary of actuals (PDF).

Our summer work on the budget was extensive.

In the spirit of belt-tightening, the Division achieved the goal of saving $2.5 million in 2018-19. The Division reduced its centrally funded activities by $1.6 million, reduced the budgets of our 12 support units and the Office of the Provost, and centrally captured 17.5% of the surpluses generated by our colleges and support units. No one unit, college, or program carried the full burden of this goal of reduced spending. Instead, we shared the burden across the Division. Thank you for understanding the context of these hard decisions.     

In the spirit of realigning, the Division grew the overall college allocations by $2 million and reconciled the GI 2025 funds to the overall budget. During 2017-18, a task force of your colleagues led by Jeff Bell, examined the college allocation model and made some key recommendations. The Division implemented these recommendations along with a few other improvements to the model, including a method to more fairly support college-level student success activities, an update to level and mode instructional costs, and inclusion of professional development funds. The following table shows the college-by-college general fund allocations for 2018-19 as well as the past 2017-18 totals.    

 Budget Table

Chico State received $2,566,000 in base GI 2025 dollars for 2018-19. This was shared between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs in a 75%-25% split.  We also received $250,000 in one-time earmarked GI 2025 funds. The overarching goals for GI 2025 base dollars are faculty hiring, student advising support, and high impact practices. This year, we set aside $1 million of the GI base dollars for tenure-track hiring. The GI 2025 campus team, co-led by Kate McCarthy and Chela Patterson, will receive $274,340 from our Division to support campus GI 2025 priorities (PDF) and $100,000 to support redesign efforts in courses with high enrollments and low success rates. Another $150,000 is designated by the CSU for the efforts by English and Math as they respond to the writing and qualitative reasoning first-year requirements of EO 1110 (PDF).

Our Campus Fee Advisory Committee (CFAC) will be busy this year with revising the process for allocating Student Learning Fees. The fee increase, which will be partially implemented this year, will provide funding for additional learning activities, equipment, software, tutoring, etc. 

If we can keep our belts notched in the leaner fashion, we will end the year with a balanced budget; in other words, expenses will match resources and our reserves will stabilize. This would be a good step in rebuilding our Division’s budget, leading us towards a more sustainable revenue platform of strategic spending, sharper processes, and eventually, growth in alternative revenue sources. I am happy to schedule meetings with units to discuss and answer questions about our Division’s budget. Similarly, please attend the first meeting of the University Budget Committee scheduled for September 28 at 8 a.m. in Kendall 207/209. 

Finally, I am pleased to announce that our budgeting work enables additional tenure-track searches during 2018-19. Through salary savings and the GI 2025 base dollars, the Division can responsibly approve 21 searches. Your deans are currently preparing requests.  I will evaluate those requests using both qualitative (e.g. strategic priorities, accreditation, etc.) and quantitative (e.g. student faculty ratios, tenure density, FTES growth trends, etc.) information to guide these important decisions. Our commitment to diversity is strong.  In addition to implicit bias training, every search committee will be asked to identify and utilize tactics that have the potential to attract a more diverse pool of candidates. Our goal is to recruit faculty who support inclusion, facilitate student success, and are passionate about the teaching of their discipline and their scholarship.