Votruba briefs university on budget

President James Votruba began the somber Spring 2010 Convocation in a lighthearted mood before breaking the difficult news to members of the university gathered in Greaves Concert Hall Wednesday morning.

“The swan is upright although the coyotes are gone,” Votruba said.

But the swan joke may not have been so erroneous as it seemed. Many external forces, not unlike the wind that overturns the swan in Loch Norse occasionally, are buffeting the university but Votruba said NKU would not fall to the same fate as the swan.

“This university is going to get through this and we’re going to get through it in great shape and we’re going to get through it together,” Votruba said.

NKU faces roughly $9.5 million in budget pressure for the 2010-11 budget year, according to Votruba’s presentation at the convocation. This number is not set in stone because NKU was forced to project their budget.

NKU is currently unable to calculate the exact amount the state legislature will cut their appropriation, but estimates a $700,000 decrease.

Additionally, the Council on Postsecondary Education has not set a tuition ceiling, but NKU is estimating a cap at 5 percent increase. This would provide roughly $3.2 million in revenue for NKU.

But this only fixes the problem for the upcoming budget year, although Votruba said it would buy the university some time to come up with other budget strategies.

Votruba shared that other college presidents around the country are worried what the following year will bring. Votruba told the audience that the following year could be better or worse, but he estimated the university would have to weather the financial storm and its fallout until roughly 2014.

Ultimately, though, Votruba said on his last slide of the presentation, the next several years will depend on communication, trust and commitment.

Story by Vern Hockney