From the Provost and COO - Follow-up on budget scenario planning
April 27, 2020
Dear CU Boulder faculty and staff,
We hope you and yours are well as we enter the new week. We are writing to follow up with further guidance on the budget reduction scenario planning we shared in our operational update last week.
As we noted, it is still too soon to fully predict our fiscal year 2020-21 budget, and we acknowledge the anxiety and stress this uncertainty is causing us all. We are grateful for your understanding, patience and support for each other as we continue to serve our students and meet our mission, and we thank you for your ongoing care and resilience in helping us address the challenges ahead.
Budget Reduction Scenario Planning Guidelines
As the process proceeds, we want to be as thoughtful and strategic as possible in our collective budget planning while moving quickly to prepare for the upcoming fiscal year. This budget reduction scenario planning will provide leadership with the tools and insights necessary to make strategic decisions as we enter into the upcoming fiscal year.
Units should consider:
5%, 10% and 20% general fund budget reduction scenarios based on the current information and projections available today.
Eliminating low-priority activities, deferring new initiatives and avoiding new financial commitments.
Specific non-personnel discretionary expenses that will be naturally reduced in the case of an extended period of remote work (e.g., travel, official functions, conferences, office supplies, equipment, outside services).
Specific revenue generation opportunities to offset reductions, as long as those revenues will be realized in the coming fiscal year.
Prioritizing the use of operating gifts and spendable endowment balances in advance of unrestricted funds, consistent with gift terms.
Opportunities to achieve savings through consolidation and/or centralization of activities (e.g., OIT, HR, marketing and communications).
While seeing cost savings wherever possible, units should preserve essential activities related to:
Investments and expenses related to the continued health, safety and welfare of our faculty, students, staff and community.
Activities that support equitable student success and retention (e.g., tutoring, advising, coaching, diversity and inclusion, mental health and wellness).
Investments in technology, academic integrity, faculty support and other activities that support remote/online teaching and learning.
Activities and expenses to maintain or grow enrollment in the next year.
Our fall 2020 plans, enrollment projections and state and federal budget scenarios will begin to take clearer shape during the next three weeks. With this in mind, we are asking budget officers to submit their scenarios by the end of the day on Friday, May 8, so we can move as quickly as possible to our next steps. The Office of Budget and Fiscal Planning is available to assist units that need additional support to meet this date and will be communicating directly with budget officers during this process. Human Resources is also available to assist units considering personnel actions to meet their planning targets.
This is a challenging moment for us all, but it is also a defining one. We have a unique opportunity in the days and weeks ahead to care for each other and transform how we serve our students and continue to meet our mission. In doing this work, we can help minimize the impacts on our community, enhance our culture of common purpose and strengthen our positive impact on Colorado, our nation and our world.
Please have a productive and healthy week and continue to take care of yourselves and each other. Thank you for all you are doing to serve each other and to move our campus forward.
We are Buffs together,
Provost Russell Moore and Interim Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke