ECSU to cut more jobs due to another budget shortfall

By on April 2, 2014


Mickey L. Burnim Fine Arts Center. (Varick Taylor, ECSU)

Facing a more than $4 million dollar budget deficit due to lower enrollment for 2014-15, Elizabeth City State University announced Tuesday the school will slash 34 jobs next year after cutting dozens of jobs this past fall.

No date for the layoffs was announced.

A transition center has been established to provide the affected employees with outplacement services, employee transition services, computer resources and an on-campus job fair.

Chancellor Charles Becton said the reduction will align the school with the size of the institution’s current student population and improve efficiency.

“We also knew then that we had to continue our rightsizing efforts in anticipation of the size of next fiscal year’s enrollment,” Becton said.

“Working in conjunction with UNC General Administration, the best estimate at that time put the budget shortfall at about $4.4 million for 2014-15.”

Becton, who came to the university in July 2013, said ECSU’s financial outlook was precarious due to several factors, including enrollment declines that resulted in the loss of tuition revenue and associated state funding for this school totaling $4.2 million, and was compounded by additional budget cuts mandated by the 2013 General Assembly.

ECSU’s share of those reductions amounted to an additional $1.2 million for fiscal year 2013-14.

Administrators cut 46 employees last fall, eliminated several vacant positions, and ended a number of temporary employee contracts to address the total $5.45 million shortfall.

“It is now time to implement additional rightsizing measures so that a balanced and responsible budget will be in place before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.”

Because administrators took some preemptive administrative actions this year and have more current information on projected revenue and expenses, Becton said the university will have to cut a net of approximately $4 million to balance the budget for fiscal year 2014-2015. Although a little lower than previously estimated last fall, ECSU’s budget shortfall is still a daunting figure.

Becton said ECSU is focused on rebuilding and stabilizing enrollmentfor 2015-16 by refining the university’s core educational mission and developing areas of strategic importance to the region.

“We are making difficult, but necessary, decisions that will bring us more in line with our peers,” Becton said.

“This will result in a balanced budget—an absolute necessity—and provide some of the resources required to strengthen critical campus operations such as campus police, Clery Act compliance, and enrollment management,” Becton said.

“If we are able to rebuild and maintain our enrollment levels, the budget actions we are taking now should be sufficient,” Becton said. “We are poised for improvement if we are able to retain current students to graduation and to attract more new students to campus.”

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