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Budget Testimony 2004

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Testimony Presented To
The Senate Subcommittee on Education, Business, and Administration
The House Subcommittee on Education and Economic Development

Janet Dudley-Eshbach, President
February 2004

III. Tackling the Budget Reductions

Over the last two fiscal years, the University’s state support budget has been negatively impacted by more than $9.3 million.  In response, the University has reduced operating expenses by $3.1 million (33% of the total cut), reduced its fund balance by $2.6 million (28%), and increased tuition to raise an additional $3.6 million in revenue (39%). 

The impact of the operating expense reduction has been most significant in the following areas: workforce, facilities, and travel. The total non-faculty workforce has been reduced by more than 10%, and 31 positions have been eliminated.  Workloads for remaining staff have increased while salary levels have remained stagnant, the result of which has been lower morale and a higher turnover rate.  Major reductions in facilities renewal funds have caused the University to further defer maintenance projects.  Continued deferral of these projects will result in higher long-term repair and replacement costs.  In addition, travel budgets for all academic and administrative functions, excluding admissions and teacher education, have been cut by 50%. The growing demand of Maryland’s students who wish to attend their public universities cannot be met if reductions in workforce and operating budgets are not addressed.

Despite the aforementioned reductions, the University has tried to preserve its academic excellence.  The brunt of the impact has been borne by support services. With increased enrollments, decreased staff levels, and higher student expectations, maintaining the quality of service to its students becomes ever more challenging.  Additional demands on general fund allocations will result in the diminishment of instructional programs. Our ability to provide quality higher education has been seriously compromised.

Salisbury University must have the flexibility to balance continued cost-cutting measures with appropriate tuition increases.  Without that flexibility, it is unlikely that we can succeed in our mission as a comprehensive university, one that provides a safe, quality learning environment for our students.

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