January 24, 2017 4:00PM
In anticipation that the state of Kansas may possibly make cuts to higher education funding as a way to close its budget gap, Pittsburg State University has created a Budget Prioritization Working Group.
In a message to the campus today, President Steve Scott wrote that the group will review “the totality of our current operations, ensuring it connects with our strategic plan and providing guidance to unit leaders as they finalize future budgets.”
The working group will be co-chaired by Howard Smith, dean of enrollment management, and Amy Hite, an associate professor in the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing. Other members of the group include the university’s Strategic Planning Council, but it will not include the provost or any of the university’s vice presidents.
“This will ensure a broad spectrum of voices and perspectives from across campus will be well represented,” Scott wrote.
The president wrote that although legislators and the governor have yet to make decisions on the budget for the next fiscal year, it was important for the university to plan for the possibility of cuts.
“Kansas finds itself, once again, in a precarious financial situation,” Scott wrote. “It seems likely that any solution produced by our state lawmakers will include additional revenue cuts. Any cut to state investment in higher education is likely to be applied to our base funding for both FY18 and FY19. In other words, the cuts will be permanent.”
The president said the decline in state support for higher education requires the university to consider important questions.
“So, how do we move forward?” Scott wrote. “How do we, as a university, ensure our students continue to have access to transformative academic and co-curricular programming? How can we recruit and retain the very best faculty and staff and continue our tradition of treating them with support and respect?”
He wrote that he believed the path forward lies in the university’s strategic plan.
The Budget Prioritization Working Group will provide preliminary recommendations to the university’s Strategic Planning Council in March, with a final report to be delivered before the end of the 2017 summer session.
“The financial situation facing us is the most challenging since the Great Recession,” Scott wrote. “The way forward will not be simple, nor will it be easy. It will require considerable thought, innovation and a willingness to make difficult decisions. As Gorillas, we will make this journey together. Our values will serve as our guideposts. Our focus will remain, as it always has, on the well-being of our students.”