On Thursday, Oct. 17, The Office of Administration and Finance projected a $2.9 million deficit for the 2019-2020 fiscal year at the forum hosted to discuss SUNY New Paltz’s core operating budget.
The forum was hosted by President Donald P. Christian and Vice President for Administration & Finance Michele Halstead where they discussed plans for the college budget. An operating budget is a “forecast and analysis” of the projected income and expenses over the course of a fiscal year. The $2.9 million deficit projected for the next fiscal year’s budget still manages to be less than what the deficit for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which was approximately $5 million. However, the actual deficit last year only turned out to be $400,000.
SUNY New Paltz’s operating budget accounts for revenue from tuition, direct state tax payer support, interest earned on cash balances and the college fee. The tuition, interest and college fee costs account for 77% of the revenue and state taxes account for 23%.
While expenditures include costs for personnel, including academic year instructors and administration, student support and maintenance personnel, utilities for academic and administrative buildings, travel, supplies “and contracts associated with the delivery of the campus academic mission.”
For the next fiscal year, the college is expecting to earn $67,540,800 from revenue. However, $70,481,362 is expected to be spent.
The difference between the deficit for last year and this year is $2,080,459.
“We’ve been moving in the right direction and we’ll keep doing so,” Christian said, according to a New Paltz News article.
Last year, SUNY New Paltz managed to reduce the $5 million deficit to $400,000 by permanently reducing costs for personnel costs in position reductions and reorganizations, supplies, contracts and equipment, had a “one-time” reduction in personnel costs in strategic recruitment, “had another good year for utility costs” and accelerated payment of state support “to cover one-time costs associated with collective bargaining increases.”
According to Halstead, the college started a multi-year plan in order to increase revenue and reduce expenditures to achieve a balanced budget in approximately three years.
Two ways SUNY New Paltz plans on increasing their revenue is by recruiting more students and increasing tuition by $200 a year for in-state undergraduate students and “modest increases for other student types.” The goal is to enroll an additional 120 undergraduate students and to see a 10% increase in graduates for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 years.
If the college cannot reduce the spending costs by the amount of the anticipated deficit, $2.9 million, the campus reserves or the savings account will have to be used to cover the balance of the deficit. The anticipated use of reserves is $ 2,940,562.
This budget deficit has potential to impact the college’s academic departments and thus the students at SUNY New Paltz due to reduced spending.
“Every area of the campus has been asked to reduce spending,” Halstead said. “Some departments have reduced spending on supplies and travel while others may have positions that have been held vacant for some time. Each department strives to maintain continuity of service to students, but the reality is that some services may be impacted.”