Too early to know impact of 2% cuts to IU, Ivy Tech budgets, officials say

The Herald-Times
Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12:00 am
By Jon Blau 331-4266 | jblau@heraldt.com |

It is too early to tell what effect Gov. Mike Pence’s call for 2 percent cuts on budgets will have at Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington.

There is no doubt, however, that it was surprising to officials at each higher ed institution when news of reduced funding from the state came Monday.

IU spokesman Mark Land repeatedly called the news “a challenge” Tuesday, especially after calls by Pence for $1 billion in tax cuts and new spending on roads. The university based its lowest tuition increase in more than three decades on the $470 million operating budget granted by the state, Land said, but Pence’s order, which comes after a tax shortfall from the state of $141 million, will reduce the university’s budget by about $10 million over the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Pence’s plan also asks state agencies to reduce spending by 1.5 percent, while the governor’s office will relinquish an airplane believed to be valued at around $2.5 million in an effort to mitigate the state’s losses by $57 million.

“It’s just a challenge,” Land said. “Nobody saw this coming. … We aren’t going to complain about it, because we aren’t the only ones in this spot. It just presents a challenge.”

Only 24 hours into the process of figuring out where to find $10 million to cut from the budget, Land said it was too early to say what expenses may have to be rolled back. The loss of millions of dollars is not insignificant, but the IU spokesman speculated that it wouldn’t force the university to “slash and burn” programs. Rather, Chief Financial Officer MaryFrances McCourt and her staff will be “turning over rocks” to find savings as funding levels reduce over the coming months, he said.

Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder said the community college is “assessing the situation,” but he did not have any specific idea of what the cuts would mean as of Tuesday, either. Snyder said he recognizes that Ivy Tech exists in a “fiscally conservative state,” but he also said he thinks it is an approach that has benefited the state and, at times, the college.

The cuts will cost Ivy Tech about $4 million, according to Ivy Tech spokesman Jeff Fanter.

“We aggressively manage our financials at the school,” Snyder said. “We are Triple-A rated.”

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