Board gets budget update

Some members say program cuts preferred over steep tuition increases
By Staff

The University of Colorado Board of Regents today had its first public discussion about the university's budget for the coming fiscal year (which will start July 1), and some members said they support more program cuts rather than steep tuition increases.

The university must deal with an ongoing revenue shortfall of $50 million, of which $29 million was addressed last fiscal year, said Kelly Fox, vice president and chief financial officer. The remaining $21 million will come from a combination of revenue enhancement, operational efficiencies and strategic cuts, Fox said. Stimulus funding will help the university with a longer planning horizon, but will not solve problems over the long term.

Fox also said that Gov. Bill Ritter's budget presentation to the Legislature's Joint Budget Committee called for a $15 million reduction to the $50 million in stimulus funding CU is slated to receive for the 2010-11 budget year.

The governor also announced that CU would be able to raise tuition by up to 9 percent, an increase some regents said they would not support.

"We need to do more in efficiencies before we approach 9 percent or greater in tuition increases," said Regent Kyle Hybl (R-Colorado Springs). His comments were echoed by regents Jim Geddes (R-Sedalia) and Stephen Ludwig (D-Lone Tree).

Fox said she does not expect that the regents will see tuition proposals before April. The General Assembly session begins Jan. 13. The Legislature will begin crafting the Long Bill, which details state spending, early in 2010. But Fox said she doesn't expect the Legislature to get too far into the process before it hears March revenue numbers, which will in part determine what funding is available for lawmakers. The process will pick up steam in April, when the Board of Regents will begin budget discussions in earnest.