UofL’s Staff Senate met Monday in Chao Auditorium, where CFO Dan Durbin provided an update on the university’s budget, including a recap from the past year and what to expect next year.
For Fiscal Year 2019, revenues were up by 5% to about $1.1 billion, and UofL’s net position increased by $23 million, a significant increase over the prior year’s performance of $3 million.
Durbin said the university’s financial position remains strong with total assets and deferred outflows of $1.3 billion.
One area UofL has struggled with in recent years has been with liquidity, or cash on hand. But that has also improved and our current ratio has increased from 1.32x from 1.11x, Durbin noted.
“We are continuing to make progress in all areas. We have had some revenue decreases, for example with state support and foundation numbers, but all other revenue sources were higher than they were in 2018, which is all good news,” Durbin said. “Especially at the HSC campus, which has turned a corner. 2019 was a critical year and everything is pointing in the right direction.”
Durbin also noted that Q1 revenues so far are up by about 2% year-over-year, despite some challenges from enrollment numbers.
“We have more students, but they’re taking less credit hours,” he said.
A budget planning and monitoring committee has been charged to advise the president and her leadership team about the allocation of current and future financial resources and ensure they are in alignment with the university’s mission and strategic plan. Durbin is a co-chair along with Provost Beth Boehm. Three subcommittees have been formed, including a funding request subcommittee, budget model allocation and administrative activity review.
University-wide budget goals, policies and priorities that the committee is exploring include:
- Corrective budget actions to avoid deficits
- University enrollment targets
- Employee compensation changes
- Fringe benefit changes
- Evaluation of university investments in programs and activities (cost vs. benefit)
- Other changes identified by the provost and CFO
- Investments in design and use of space
- Items recommended by subcommittees
- Enhance peer understanding of our budget by being involved
For the final bullet point, Durbin said the administration is working hard to involve more people in the budget planning and monitoring process.
“The more people involved, the more people will understand the budget and be able to help and provide input,” he said.
Heidi Cooley-Cook provided an update about the inaugural Cards Come Together event in October. She said the collection drives were particularly successful, and most of those donations stayed on campus. The Cardinal Cupboard collected nearly 2,000 pounds of food, which should get the pantry through winter break.
Conservative estimates indicate that 500 students, staff, faculty and alumni were involved in the week of service. The executive committee recommends that the event continue, but to also consider other dates and times that are not associated with homecoming.
Carcyle Barrett provided an update on the bylaw revisions, noting that they are not quite ready for a first reading, but senators’ opinions about the live document are invited prior to the February meeting.
The Faculty Senate report is available online, and includes an update from President Bendapudi and a summary of the new internal budget model. Additionally, a student wellness committee has been formed to help create a healthy environment for all students.
Chair John Smith’s report is available online. He pointed out the increasing challenge of filling committee vacancies and encouraged senators to consider volunteering for those positions.
“As leadership continues to advocate for a ‘seat at the table,’ we need to ensure we have people willing and desirous of filling those positions,” he said.
The Staff Senate won’t meet in January. The next meeting is Feb. 10 in Chao Auditorium.