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APSU prepares for immediate impoundment, leaner 03-04 budget

February 4, 2003

On July 3, 2002, when the state legislature finally pieced together a budget, Dr. Sherry Hoppe called it a Band-Aid, a fast fix for an anemic state budget that now appears to be bleeding out.

After last weeks meeting of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Hoppe reported APSUas well as every other public college and university in Tennesseemust prepare for an impoundment between now and June 30. APSUs impoundment could be $1.5 million.
February 4, 2003

On July 3, 2002, when the state legislature finally pieced together a budget, Dr. Sherry Hoppe called it a Band-Aid, a fast fix for an anemic state budget that now appears to be bleeding out.

After last week's meeting of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Hoppe reported APSUas well as every other public college and university in Tennesseemust prepare for an impoundment between now and June 30. APSU's impoundment could be $1.5 million.

In addition, all state colleges and university presidents have been advised that in all likelihood all institutions' base budgets for 2003-04 will be reduced by at least 8.8 percent, which means APSU will begin next fiscal year with $2.8 million less than it had to begin 2002-03.

As a contingency plan, Hoppe and the other administrators had set aside $500,000 of this year's budget, which was earmarked to be released this spring for badly needed equipment. Now that money will fund part of APSU's impoundment. Hoppe indicated, also, that APSU has about $100,000 in lapsed salaries, which will go toward the impoundment this year.

The mandated two-percent reserve is intact at APSU. At this time, Hoppe has no plans to tap this emergency fund.

However, to determine where to cut $1.5 million from this year's budget and, also, how to cut $2.8 million from next year's base budget, Hoppe and the three vice presidents Dr. Bruce Speck, vice president for academic affairs; Mitch Robinson, vice president for finance and administration; and Dr. Jennifer Meningall, vice president for student affairsmet Friday morning and Sunday afternoon.

Speck also met with the deans from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday to determine the best way to handle the 39 faculty searches currently underway. In a Monday memo to faculty, Speck said, “The drastic reduction in our base budget necessitates that we review any open positions and determine which ones can be cut.”

Although final decisions will not be made until APSU receives more complete information from the Tennessee Board of Regents, at least 10 faculty positions that already have been advertised will be not be filled. Instead, current faculty will be asked to teach overloads next year, as several already are.

Like other dedicated faculty across the campus, Dr. Ramon Magrans, professor of Spanish, is teaching two additional courses this semester.

The School of Education will lose two temporary positions, and needed positions in such areas as communication and professional studies will remain vacant. Two deans' searches have been cancelled, but Dr. Don Luck and Dr. Jim Diehr agreed to continue as interim deans of the College of Professional Programs and Social Sciences and the College of Arts and Letters, respectively.

Any new post-tenure contracts will be approved only when sufficient money is left from the retiring faculty member's salary to cover a replacement. Post-retirement contracts will be limited to two years. Tuition for any course during Summer School 2003 must cover the salary and benefits of the instructor.

In concluding his memo, Speck said, “The cuts we are making and will be making will have a profound…impact on our ability to provide instruction to students. Nevertheless…those in academic leadership positions are doing their best to make judicious decisions given the stark options available.”

Hoppe indicated similar cost-saving measures are being used when making decisions regarding staff positions. All unfilled staff positions were frozen immediately. Because selected programs and services may not be available this summer, some staff may be asked to take on additional duties, as most vacant positions will be frozen indefinitely.

“The faculty and staff at Austin Peay are wonderfully resilient, so I have every confidence we'll make it through these trying times,” Hoppe said. “It is during such times I realize anew how truly dedicated to students our faculty and staff are, how much they are willing to sacrifice to ensure our students never, ever are shortchanged on the quality of their education. You can't put a price tag on that.”