For the past several months, you have heard a great deal about the University’s 2011-2012 budget. The current budget situation is not a UNC System problem or a Winston-Salem State University problem. The problem derives from a funding shortfall to meet the overall budget for the State of North Carolina – it’s a revenue problem. While the projected revenue shortfall continues to be a moving target, we know there will be a reduction in our state appropriation at some level.
In anticipation, we continue to develop budgets for Winston-Salem State that include various levels of cuts so that we can be prepared for whatever the end result might be. I have also convened an Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation that has been charged to recommend what the University’s top priorities should be and how those priorities will drive resource allocations from all of our funding sources. This committee is made up of representatives from among our faculty, staff and students so that all voices may be heard.
There is agreement, however, that the top priorities have to be those areas that support the University’s Strategic Plan. Regardless of the budget challenges we may face, we will not slow down the progress we are making in our efforts to support student success. I am committed to putting our dollars where we need them the most to maintain the momentum we have created over the past several months.
That means we will continue to move forward with curriculum reform, our student retention and graduation efforts, campus safety, improved customer service and other areas that support our overall goals, including faculty and staff development. We will also continue to bring in consultants in the areas where there is a return on investment for the dollars spent. An example of that effort can be seen in our IT Transformation Project. Through the work of the Robinson Group and staff members, we have a stronger, more effective information technology department and we will save money in the process.
Everyone on campus must understand that a reduction in our state appropriation at any level will require difficult decisions to be made. Everyone should also understand that the University is and will continue to be financially sound. We simply must adjust our spending to the revenue available.
Over the next several weeks, budget information will be updated and I will certainly keep you advised. As I have said in several meetings, I want you to know what I know. I also want to be sure you understand that, regardless of the impact on our financial resources, we will continue to provide a quality education to our students while maintaining our focus on teaching, research and service.