Daily Egyptian

Administration and Finance bridges the gap from budget cuts with student fees

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Cory Ray, @coryray_DE

Administration and Finance is stretching student fee coverage as the Physical Plant builds a new method to tackle budget cuts and continue building maintenance.

Kevin Bame, vice chancellor for Administration and Finance, said $3 million from student fees that were budgeted toward classroom and lab upgrades has been deferred. Those upgrades could include anything from painting, changing lightbulbs or replacing whiteboards.

Every project has its own priority, but as Bame noted, money ultimately decides what projects will be completed this fiscal year.

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The Office of Administration and Finance received a budget cut of nearly $3 million, or 8.82 percent. Of this cut, $2 million is a shift in funds from the Physical Plant to Facilities Maintenance Fee.

The shift will not result in an increase to student fees, but rather the Facilities Maintenance Fee will cover a wider range, according to University Spokesperson Rae Goldsmith.

Bame said the Facilities Maintenance Fee is used for routine maintenance cost for academic buildings.

The fee generated a revenue of about $6.9 million this fiscal year through student fees, which charges $19.50 per credit hour. This translates to $585 annually for a student taking 30 credit hours. 

“There’s not a specific list,” Bame said. “A lot of maintenance on the buildings is based on what needs to be repaired because of condition … So much of it is on demand. If something breaks, we have to go in and fix it.”

The shift is a nonrecurring cut, meaning the $2 million shift will only be applied once and will be re-evaluated for future years.

“It’s probably going to show itself down the road if we don’t solve things as a deferred maintenance problem, meaning we can’t fix things or get things or get them the way we want them,” Goldsmith said. “But for now, that’s what we’re going to do.”

Bame said the fund for routine building maintenance currently retains $900,000 from its original budget.

Additionally, Administration and Finance is receiving a 10 percent cut from its base budget, which accounts for any unfilled staff positions that report to the department.

“We centralize all of our salary dollars … It’s a combination of positions that didn’t make it,” Bame said. “We gathered up all those salary dollars, as far as budget, and remitted them back to administration. Everything’s been pulled together using that approach for so long that possible salary budgets have lost their identity. We’ve pulled centrally for probably three plus years.”

Other 10 percent cuts include $23,000 from Postage Service and $16,000 from Key Control, which employs campus locksmiths.

“We simply are not going to be able to do the upgrades at the level we have, because we won’t have the same amount of money,” Goldsmith said.

Cory Ray can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @coryray_DE

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