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Old Dominion University President Roseann Runte issued the following letter to faculty and staff Monday following Gov. Mark Warner's speech to the General Assembly's joint money committees.

August 19, 2002

Dear Colleague:

I and many of you on campus received a message from the Governor's office this morning detailing the economic shortfall facing the Commonwealth. In an address to the General Assembly's joint money committees, Gov. Warner outlined how this budget situation, which he attributes in large measure to continued weakness in the national economy, will affect state agencies throughout Virginia.

The purpose of my letter is to share the Governor's remarks with you and to communicate what I understand this to mean for Old Dominion at this time.

First, let me be clear in saying our work in addressing this budgetary crisis is just beginning. I will work closely with the vice presidents and deans - all of whom will be collaborating with our faculty and staff - to determine how Old Dominion can best weather this. I will endeavor to keep you informed.

To illustrate the magnitude of this latest shortfall in Virginia's biennial budget, Gov. Warner used the hypothetical example that if the state were to cut the combined general fund budgets (including student financial assistance) of seven of Virginia's primary higher education institutions, including Old Dominion, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, UVa, George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth and Virginia State, we would still be $10 million short.

It is safe to say that no college or university will be closing its doors as a result of this latest round of cuts we are facing, but this example does put the Commonwealth's financial situation into perspective. I hardly need to remind all of you that we already are dealing with an overall budget reduction of 7.3 percent in the current fiscal year.

Each state agency is being called on to share in the cuts that need to be made, and we at Old Dominion will again rally to meet the goals set forth by the Governor while continuing to focus on making our case to differentiate the cuts. We will do our utmost to minimize the impact on our academic offerings.

Gov. Warner issued the following statements:

· By Sept. 20, each state agency will prepare and submit a plan to reduce its general fund budget for FY 2003 and 2004 by 7 percent, 11 percent and 15 percent. These reductions would be in addition to the 7 and 8 percent reductions already enacted for most agencies. The reductions will not be levied at the same percentage for each agency, which is why each agency is being asked to submit multiple plans. "We will evaluate each plan and assess its impact on core services before making a decision about the amount each agency budget will be reduced. However, everyone should understand that no agency will be totally exempt from reductions. Agencies should expect that reductions of at least 5 percent will be required from everyone," Gov. Warner said.

· "Simply continuing to make each program and agency leaner, however, will not solve our problem," he explained, noting that if some agencies are reduced further they will not be functional. Instead he will look at each program and agency to evaluate what can be reduced, altered or eliminated. "We will involve the General Assembly and affected interest groups in assessing programs, but everyone should understand that these targeted reductions will not be just cosmetic. They will be real, with clear impacts and consequences on citizens, local governments, agencies and employees," he cautioned.

· Effective Sept. 1 and until a plan is in place, state agencies will be issued a monthly spending limit, with limits for higher education set quarterly. The primary effect of these spending limits will be felt in the areas of travel, equipment and other costs "not required to support an agency's core functions," the Governor added.

The implications of these changes will not be known for several weeks, but I call on each of you to pull together to weather this storm. In the next few days the vice presidents and deans will be meeting with department heads to address specifics relating to travel, hiring and equipment needs. They will seek input and share it with me as we make some very tough decisions.

I encourage you to visit the Governor's Web site (www.governor.state.va.us) and read the entire text of his Aug. 19 message for further information.

Sincerely yours,

Roseann Runte

This article was posted on: August 19, 2002

Old Dominion University
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.