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Letter from ISU President Gregory Geoffroy to faculty and staff

Dec. 31, 2008

To Iowa State Faculty and Staff:

I am writing to update you on our plans for handling the FY09 1.5% reduction ($4.255 million) in our state appropriations that Gov. Culver announced in December. This is on top of the earlier $2.91 million reduction. After evaluating a variety of options, we have decided to distribute the 1.5% budget reduction directly to the university units that receive state appropriations and let each unit leader decide how best to make the reductions within their units.

The 1.5% reduction will be directly applied to the appropriations lines of those ISU units that receive direct state appropriations, including ISU Extension, the Agriculture Experiment Station, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and several others. The remaining $3.265 million budget reduction will be distributed to units within the President's Office ($86,689) and the Divisions of Academic Affairs ($2.627 million), Business and Finance ($415,327), and Student Affairs ($136,254) on the basis of their General University budgets. Administrators of those units will communicate budget reduction plans to their unit leaders.

One option we strongly considered for handling this latest mid-year reversion was to institute a mandatory furlough (unpaid leave) of a few days for all university employees. After much analysis, we concluded that furloughs would be too difficult to implement at this time, and mandatory furloughs will not be applied. However, a set of university leaders, including myself, all vice presidents, academic deans, associate and vice provosts, and associate and assistant vice presidents will take 5 days of furlough between now and June 30. All budget savings accrued through those furloughs will be applied to the reversion obligations of the units they lead. Other university employees may volunteer for furloughs to assist with the reversion obligations of their units, and if you wish to participate, please inform your supervisor.

Mid-year budget reductions like the two we have experienced this year are challenging for universities like ours to handle in a strategic way, because of our strong culture of shared governance, consultation, and deliberate strategic decision making. We believe that the across-the-board distribution of this latest 1.5% reduction is the best way for us to finish the current academic year with minimal disruption to the university's core academic mission, while giving us time to strategically and thoughtfully plan budget changes that can be put into place for next year. Executive Vice President and Provost Hoffman is leading the development of the university's FY10 budget, working with the University Budget Advisory Committee and other university leaders. I have asked her to incorporate the two combined $7.165 million mid-year reversions and any future budget reductions into strategic FY10 budget adjustments, keeping in mind our priority of protecting the core academic mission of the university, especially that of educating students.

Thank you again for your understanding and patience as we work through these budget challenges. I also appreciate your suggestions for budget savings and urge you to keep sending in ideas.

Greg Geoffroy


Quick look

In a Dec. 31 letter, ISU President Gregory Geoffroy updated Iowa State faculty and staff on plans for handling the latest mid-year reversion in state funds to the university.