Mesa State says it expects to lose $1.6M

Mesa State College announced Tuesday the college would see a $1.6 million reduction in its 2009-10 budget under the proposed state budget cuts announced by Gov. Bill Ritter earlier in the day.

The additional budget cuts come after Mesa State earlier this month reduced its spending for the 2008-09 fiscal year by $750,000 after the governor’s Office of Planning and Budgeting requested the college reduce its spending by $932,000.

The proposed cuts to the 2009-10 budget are a small part of the governor’s recommendation to slash $100 million for the higher education general-fund budget as part of a package of recommendations rolled out Tuesday.

Mesa State President Tim Foster said the governor’s presentation of the 2009-10 budget is “just the beginning of the state budget process,” and it is clear higher-education funding will be reduced.

The college had been bracing for the budget proposals and discussed strategies to handle the loss of funds in the short term during its first board of trustees meeting of the year, held in Denver last week.

During the meeting, Patrick Doyle, vice president of finance, said Mesa State could have seen as much as a $2.6 million reduction in state support in the 2009-10 proposed cuts.

Doyle said the college will actively seek opportunities to renegotiate or rebid its third-party contracts with service providers, or see if the services can be done cheaper in-house.

The college is sharing equipment, such as copiers and printers, among departments and is moving the campus toward paperless communication.

Doyle said the school is examining how to consolidate summer classes into a few buildings.

That would leave some facilities closed and reduce cleaning and utilities costs.

The increasing possibility of tuition hikes were discussed at the meeting, but Foster said any potential increases would balance education quality with affordability.

“We’ll go as far as we can with budget cuts, but at some point, we will also have to look at the revenue side of the equation,” Foster said. “As always, when we consider tuition increases, we do so with an eye on ensuring that our students have access to and can afford college.”


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