State budget adjustment won’t affect current jobs or our mission
A message from President Scott Ransom
As we have reported previously, the Health Science Center is achieving great success in meeting and often exceeding its strategic goals over the past couple of years. We have realized record- breaking growth and new levels of quality in our student body, our academic programs, our research, our patient care delivery and our physical plant. This success has been accomplished thanks to your hard work and dedication.
We are living in challenging financial times, as you are keenly aware. Our leadership here and at the UNT System level have been working to determine what effect these challenges will have on our organizations, but it has not been clear what the State would need to do. Now that the State Legislature is in session, we have been monitoring the situation closely and on a daily basis.
On Monday afternoon all health science centers and higher education institutions received a letter from Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus directing us to plan for a 2 1/2 percent cut to our current state budget retroactive to Sept. 1 (see attached letter). For us this represents $1.3 million. The UNT System has responded to the State leadership in writing regarding our proposed approach to this potential retroactive cut.
Any reductions must protect the needs of our students and the quality of our academic, research, patient care and community engagement missions. We, through several specific steps, will be able to meet this state mandate without staff or faculty layoffs or reducing current salaries.
These steps must be taken immediately:
1. Freeze hiring on all current open positions. Any position to be considered must have the approval of the appropriate Executive Vice President and the President prior to any employment offer or position posting.
2. Reduce travel regardless of whether it is funded on state or local funds. Employee travel must have the appropriate Dean or VP approval before arrangements are completed.
3. Critically evaluate other non-personnel-related saving opportunities to maintain a stable budget, such as utilities. Your ideas for these kinds of cost-saving opportunities are welcome.
The operational procedures for implementing these budget reduction steps will be communicated by the division of Finance and Administration. We are fortunate that the impact to our organization to date has been minimal compared to those in other states. As we tighten our belts, I ask for your support as we move to adjust our budget to adapt to our new financial world.