Letter Regarding University Budget, June 2009

June 3, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that we submitted our FY10 budget to the University System last week, balanced as required.

Bringing the budget into balance required paring our expenses by $8.3 million. Of this $8.3 million, $4.4 million will be saved by reducing operating and support expenses, including travel, printing and mail, business meals, membership dues, subscriptions and energy costs. A salary freeze for non-unionized employees earning more than $40,000 will yield $1.3 million. The final $2.6 million will be realized by not filling 27 faculty and staff positions, reducing 40 staff positions from full- to part-time, and implementing a reduction in force for seven staff positions.

The personnel actions are particularly painful. While we have known that UNH is not immune to the economic forces that are buffeting all institutions, we promised that the sort of layoffs and other reductions now common at other colleges and universities would be at the far end of steps we would contemplate. Unfortunately, in some of our units, that far end has been reached.

The university is providing outplacement guidance and other assistance for the seven displaced staff members, including consideration for other UNH positions. We’re also providing 90 days notice, rather than the 30 days normally provided for any affected operating staff, given the current economic circumstances.

Even with these difficult steps, uncertainties remain. Will the legislature accept the Governor’s proposal for USNH, ensuring us at least flat-funding for FY10? How many of the deposits for next year’s freshman class will “melt” over the summer? What will the financial aid budget turn out to be? What will be the cost of settling the current contract negotiations for UNH faculty and UNH patrol officers? Will the USNH Board of Trustees later this month accept our recommended tuition increases for next year? We don’t yet know the answers to any of these questions.

Although these are not easy times at UNH, I continue to believe it is important to tell you what we know, as we know it. We are all in this together. Your hard work and creative suggestions helped craft the balanced budget for FY10. More hard work and more creativity will be needed for FY11, which will be even more challenging.

I thank you for your help and wish you a safe and restorative summer.

Mark W. Huddleston
University of New Hampshire