By Nicholas Bostick
The Brookhaven College Budget and Planning Committee has identified possible cuts that can be made to balance the school’s 2014-2015 fiscal year budget. Of the original $1.3 mil- lion in cuts needed to next year’s budget, administrators have already identified nearly a mil- lion dollars of possible budget cuts, Brookhaven President Dr. Thom Chesney said in an email.
Brookhaven administrators will have to cut an additional $450,000 in order to balance the budget, Chesney said.
Brookhaven has suffered total declines of nearly 6.9 percent in number of students registered and 6.6 percent in contact hours since 2011, according to registration reports from Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. Total contact hours and overall head count are both major factors in determining state funding.
These declines have put an even greater burden on the annual budget at Brookhaven since the Texas legislature implemented an outcome-based approach to state funding Oct. 1, 2013.
Chesney said, “George Herring, vice president of business services, released an information packet to the [Budget and Planning Committee] to share with work groups, departments and divisions which met April 7-16 to discuss and identify possible sources of funds,” Brookhaven’s president, regarding detailing the budget planning process.
In a memo from April 4, Herring said Chesney and the department vice presidents were tasked with finding areas within the campus where budget reductions could be made. He also said Chesney and the vice presidents had planned on publishing a final list of budget reductions by the end of April. As of press date, these reductions were not yet available.
“As Thom [Chesney] has shared with Budget and Planning and the college, we cannot expect to operate as we have historically and expect to see different results,” Herring said. “[Chesney] charged us last week to find not just the $1.3 million to balance the budget, but additional sources to help address our strategic goals and initiatives.”
The proposed budget cuts include shutting down campus buildings partially or fully during non-peak hours, hiring more student workers for part-time positions at reduced hourly rates and consolidating the responsibilities of administrators to reduce the number of open positions.
“Truly I recognize that this message may be uncomfortable or even unsettling; however, as so many of you have made amply clear to me, it is better to have this type of information come directly and regularly rather than through the proverbial grapevine or not at all,” Chesney said. “I am confident that Brookhaven College will emerge from this budgetary challenge strategically and sustainably dedicated to student and employee success.”