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FY11 budget could be as much as $14.5 million

Published: November 6, 2009
Section: Front Page

The possible deficit for Fiscal Year 2010 is projected to be around $3 million, while the figures for FY11 could be as much as $14.5 million, Sue Lanser (ENG), Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees, and University President Jehuda Reinharz said at yesterday’s faculty meeting.

Lanser attributed the discrepancy between the FY10 and FY11 budget gaps to the decision made this June to cut university contributions to faculty retirement funds for one year.

“The differences between these comes from the fact that FY10 was only covered by the cutting to retirement, which is not on the budget as an offset for FY11,” Lanser said.

The projections are only predicted numbers, and are not final, but a number of factors will contribute to high deficits in the coming years.

Chief among these is the forecast for a decline in rate of giving, and though Brandeis donations are tax-deductible, “projections are for lower giving for an extended period,” Lanser said.

Giving to all universities nationwide is down 16 percent from last year, she said, with Brandeis’ rate down 13 percent and expected to decline. Additionally, the rate of giving to Jewish-affiliated institutions is as steep as a 25 to 50 percent decline.

Reinharz debunked many false stories circulating the campus about plans to offset Brandeis’ recent financial trouble.

“There are lots of rumors flying around here: we are not cutting salaries, that would be news to me; we are not firing people, that would be news to me,” Reinharz said.

The president also ameliorated what he saw as exaggerated controversy about the university’s structural deficit.

“It’s also news to me [that this is a cause about which to worry] because this university was born with a structural deficit,” Reinharz said, adding that it was not a problem to be concerned with or solved at any point in the near future.

The legitimate concerns that faculty and other members of the Brandeis community had concern the operating budget, or cash on hand of the university for expenditures.

“The numbers on the operating budget will change, but I fully expect to resolve every issue,” Reinharz said.

To combat the budget deficits, the Board of Trustees “wants a menu of options from the university,” Lanser said, saying that list would probably include the Committee on Academic Restructuring Steering (CARS) goal of retiring 10 percent of the faculty, though more comprehensive solutions will have to be found.

The administration wanted to ensure that this was not to be construed against more faculty members, but merely that the Board would seek additional help to close to budget holes.

“These are two separate issues, a long-run issue and a short-run issue. CARS is a long-run plan for equilibrium in the university’s revenue and expenditures,” Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe said.

The bright side of the budget report for Brandeis’ finances is that the Trustees continue to show economic generosity to the university they are meant to supervise. “One-third of all income [from donations] has come from the Trustees,” Lanser said.

The Trustees typically donate a great deal to Brandeis, and it appears the same was true despite the recent recession. “One-third is consistent with the past…we are very grateful,” Reinharz said.