By Alex Green and Daniel Jackson
Halfway through this year’s financial budget, Bryan College is cutting back spending in order to keep the budget balanced.
President Stephen Livesay told faculty and staff at a special, unscheduled meeting last Monday that the college will attempt to balance its budget by reducing athletic scholarships for incoming students, moving some full-time faculty and staff to part-time and giving some top leaders in the college temporary pay cuts for the remainder of the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Livesay said these changes should not affect students’ experiences at Bryan this semester, but may affect the sports scholarships for the incoming class of 2017.
He said that when he and his cabinet, made up of departmental vice presidents, met to determine a course of action, the group established three “ground rules” for trimming the budget.
First, Livesay said, the group agreed to maintain the college’s mission. Secondly, he said the cabinet agreed to limit the impacts on current students. Third, decisions that reflected fiscal responsibility were a must, he added.
Livesay said the school budget was falling as planned until around mid July, when some new and returning students suddenly dropped out of enrollment. Enrollment numbers are down around 50 students from what was predicted last spring.
Bryan gets most of its money from tuition fees paid by students, and not from large grants or alumni donations, according to Livesay.
Livesay added that the students who dropped unexpectedly likely faced financial issues of their own, which led to their not coming to Bryan or not returning for the fall semester.
Other schools in the area are also facing the issue of reduced enrollment because of the economy, he said.
“It’s not something that is unique to Bryan … It’s just the reality that’s out there.”
Livesay is taking a voluntary 50 percent cut in his own salary through June 30, and the top 10 salaried employees of the college will take a 5 percent pay cut during the same time.
The college will not open the pool during summer break this year, and the school is reducing funding for the Center for Origins Research and the Bryan Institute for Critical Thought and Practice starting July 1. Cuts to those groups will likely affect current undergrads most, Livesay said.
In employment changes, the school is pulling its contribution to faculty and staff retirement plans through June 30, and school-owned vehicles for individual use are being axed. Instead, the college will maintain a contract with a rental company, and employees on official school business will show a card at company kiosks and use rentals in lieu of taking a school-owned vehicle home. The fleet of vans and shuttles will not be affected, Livesay said.
I don’t like it,” he said of the cut-backs. “It’s not easy to work through these things this way, but these difficult times, although painful, will enable us to grow stronger and bear more fruit.”