Breaking down the university’s budget

Jackie Mantey

With all the numbers floating around Kent State’s Operating Budget for fiscal year 2006-2007, the most intimidating one is 357 – the number of pages the thickly bound book comprises.

The budget, which covers the expenses and revenue for Kent State and all its departments, can be overwhelming at best.

We thought we’d help.

Kent State’s budget starts with the Budget Advisory Committee, which discusses how to approach different ways to spend the money.

“Because we get such a small portion from the state, the operating standpoint is very important to the budget process,” said David Creamer, senior vice president for administration.

Creamer said the university must balance revenue and funding from the state around enrollment decline, which involves a lot of educated guessing.

The committee looks at programs with increased student interest and enrollment to determine where money should go. Creamer said the committee has been struggling with providing enough money for the upkeep and maintenance of the university and its buildings and having enough left over for adequate funding for the individual colleges and programs.

President Lester Lefton said at Wednesday’s board of trustees meeting that he would like to start talks with members of the Budget Advisory Committee to create a better budget model.

He said by relying on the current system, the university could be missing out on a better way to plan the budget.

Creamer said the 2007-2008 fiscal year budget will start being discussed next semester. Once the budget is determined, changes in tuition are decided around mid-April. This year’s budget created a 6 percent increase in tuition, Creamer said.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Mantey at [email protected].

Some significant numbers: budget breakdown at the Kent campus

• Investments in academic programs and facilities:

New faculty – $1,000,000

Studio space for architecture programs and facilities – $950,000

Library acquisitions – $200,000

Utilities – $500,000

Operation and maintenance for new honors space – $150,000

• Scholarships, University Award Program and tuition benefits – $2,053,200

• Funding for the Enterprise Resource Planning system – $735,400

On Sept. 19 the board of trustees approved a $555,000 addition to the budget for ERP. The system is working to allow the university to stop using social security numbers.

• Capital campaign investments – $85,800

• Reserve for enrollment decline – $4,358,000