June 22, 2010
Dear University Community Members:
As you already know from prior communications, at the direction of the Texas governor and legislative leadership, UNT has planned for a 5 percent total reduction of state-appropriated funds for Fiscal Year 2010-11. Despite this reduction, UNT’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1, ensures continued progress toward our key institutional goals of:
• remaining student-centered
• providing a high-quality educational experience
• improving UNT’s research strength while continuing to improve the quality of instruction and the student body.
Recently, UNT was advised that a starting point for the legislature’s budget deliberations for the next biennium (FY 2011-12 and FY 2012-13) will assume that this 5 percent reduction for FY 2010-11 is permanent. Further, we need to plan for up to an additional 10 percent biennial reduction of state-appropriated funds beginning in Fiscal Year 2011-12. Although Texas has fared far better than many other states up to this point, the revenues of our state have been influenced by the global economic downturn.
During the next legislative session, we are expecting vigorous debates about the state’s budget and funding for state agencies, including higher education. Some of the state’s elected officials have even suggested that a proposed 10 percent budget reduction for the next biennium may not be enough.
Following a discussion of the deans and cabinet, the university has begun planning for reductions in current spending so that the impact of budget reductions can be minimized. We are in agreement that the best way to maximize our budgetary flexibility is to institute a modified hiring freeze. Under this modified hiring freeze, the filling of vacant positions will require the approval of either a Dean or Vice President, or their designee. Hires should be approved only when filling a position is deemed to be immediately necessary. In keeping with our commitment to provide students a high-quality educational experience, existing searches for faculty and key staff members may be exempted from this action. Beginning in a few weeks, hiring in each of UNT’s divisions will be reviewed periodically to ensure consistency in moderating hiring across the university.
The university’s administrative leadership is aware that steps we take now to mitigate the state’s proposed budget reductions for the next biennium may cause some workload challenges. However, we are seeking to avoid across-the-board budget cuts, furloughs and the employee layoffs recently announced or under consideration by other Texas institutions of higher education.
Thank you for your continued commitment to the university. I am grateful for your hard work and all that you do to support the success of our students and the university overall. Together, as a university community, we will continue to make progress, even when faced with new budgetary challenges.
V. Lane Rawlins