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Higher Ed Board reacts to budget forecast

The State Board of Higher Education will be working to respond to the new state budget forecast.

Tammy Dolan is chief financial officer for North Dakota's University System.  She told the Higher Ed Board that the system office knew there was a possibility a budget allotment was coming, so they started working on projections that allowed for a 2.5 percent allotment last December.  The budget forecast on Monday revealed that across the board budget cuts would take effect at 4.05 percent.  Dolan explained what that meant to the University System...

"For the system, and that's all the institutions, system office, all the ag research institutions - all the institutions that report to the board - they have a total general fund budget of 1.01 billion dollars, and so our allotment amount that we need to save across those institutions is 41 million dollars. Very large number."

Dolan says everything is included in that budget cut - even capital projects already in progress.  System Chancellor Mark Haggerot says the board will be working through the budget cuts - with special attention to salaries.

"Given that we are the state of North Dakota, the system the one common thread seems to be people's take home pay - and they're allotted to go up to 3 percent salaries. And so the thought is, if some institutions are really strong, and they say everyone gets the max pay raise, and others are struggling and they get zero - shouldn't they're be some system-wide approach about capping that? Maybe, if you make less than $25,000, you get the full raise, but if you're a senior executive or vice president, you get two percent. So that's what we're going to work through in the chancellor's cabinet."

A new plan needs to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget by February 17th.

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