President Donald P. Christian and Vice President for Administration & Finance Michele Halstead hosted a forum on Thursday, Oct. 17, to facilitate an open discussion about the College’s core operating budget.
President Christian opened with an overview of progress made so far, saying “we’ve been moving in the right direction and we’ll keep doing so,” by sustaining enrollment and retention, continuing to advocate for direct taxpayer support, and thoughtfully managing campus expenditures.
Vice President Halstead delivered a full presentation about ongoing efforts to balance the budget. She began by sharing the good news that, while the College initially anticipated a deficit of about $5 million for fiscal year 2018-19, the actual impact on the campus’s reserves ended up being just $400,000.
The College achieved these deficit reductions through a number of measures: a mixture of permanent and one-time reductions in personnel costs; reductions in supply, equipment and contract expenses; efficient use of campus utilities; and advance payment of state support offsetting one-time costs associated with collective bargaining increases.
Halstead then pivoted to discussing the future outlook for the campus operating budget, with a refresher about the ongoing, multi-year plan to align spending authorization with spending need.
The Office of Administration & Finance is currently projecting a deficit of about $2.9 million for fiscal year 2019-20 – less than the initially projected deficit for last year, but still in need of balancing to protect the College’s reserves and achieve a sustainable, balanced budget for the long-term health of the institution.
Halstead outlined a set of goals for this year, to continue reducing ongoing expenditures and set new targets for recruiting and retaining students. She also projected that the completion of retroactive collective bargaining payments, and the expectation that tuition rates will keep pace with rising personnel expenses, will bring further reductions to the annual deficit in 2020-21.
President Christian and Vice President Halstead took questions from the audience following the presentation.
Community members who were unable to attend the Oct. 17 budget forum may view the PowerPoint presentation by logging onto my.newpaltz.edu and finding it via the “Budget Information Center” link.