AROUND MISSISSIPPI — Within a month, Mississippi’s eight public universities will finalize plans of action to cut back on the cost of textbooks, increase energy efficiency on campus and consolidate back office operations.
Cost-savings plans in a dozen key areas were presented to the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning at its most regular meeting.
Committing to finding efficiencies is the first step toward trying to responsibly deal with the realities of the economic situation facing Mississippi, Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds said.
“Our first priorities are to ensure that college is accessible to all and that our degree programs are of the highest quality,” he said. “But, we are going to have to learn to be leaner in the way that we do business. In the end, this will make our universities stronger for our students and our state.”
In September, the system was cut a total of about $34.3 million or 5 percent of the current fiscal year’s budget. This includes a reduction of about $3.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. The Ayers Settlement and Student Financial Aid were protected.
In fiscal year 2011, the reduction from the fiscal year 2009 appropriation could be as high as 10 percent. In fiscal year 2012, with the loss of ARRA dollars, that number could jump to the 20 percent range.
“The Board of Trustees unanimously supports this course of action,” Board president Scott Ross said. “It is very clear that tough decisions will have to be made but I am encouraged by our discussion here today.”
Other efficiency strategies universities will be looking at include: consolidating administration of benefits; implementing a reverse auction system; consolidating hardware and software purchasing; creating a system-wide mass notification program; improving the efficiency of fire protection programs; building a space inventory; and, completing campus peer reviews.
Finalized plans with timelines will be presented at the Oct. 14-15 meeting of the board.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info