By Briana Linney —

At the second budget forum on Feb. 26 Interim President Greg Postel explained how he wanted to use February as a time to listen to the campus community, including the Health Science Campus where the forum took place.

“We’re really trying to become informed about the priorities and the concerns of as many people as we can on this campus and on the Belknap campus. It’s not too late to hear good ideas or concerns and for us to make adjustments accordingly,” Postel said.

Postel hopes to draft a budget reflecting the recent listening tours, which consisted of surveys, forums and meetings with the Student Senate.

“The only plan around which faculty and staff and students can get excited about is one of a vibrant future for the university that involves growth of programs that are aligned with our mission,” Postel said.

Postel wants the budget to represent a guiding document to highlight administrative priorities.

“Set the priorities, fund them, and then follow the success or failure and make adjustments as time goes by, it’s also not a single year process because a budget process in a complicated institution such as the university needs to be viewed in the context of what came before and what is anticipated to follow,” Postel said.

While crafting the 2017-18 budget Postel learned of shortages of funds and declining revenue in the foundation. He said the budget was a reaction to a very unfortunate set of circumstances. 

The current year’s budget included many cuts, but moving forward it will be seen as a revenue growth exercise for the future budget. So far $1.4 million worth of staff salaries have been eliminated resulting in $4 million in savings.

The budget survey sent to faculty and staff asked about priorities the university should fund in the upcoming year. The top four answers were position protection, performance based compensation, unit budget restoration and salary increases.

Postel wants to continue gathering feedback before making any decisions, but weighed in on salary increases.  

“I’m very concerned about the fact that we have not had salary increases for our staff. I still feel that it is a problem and so I think we need to explore that further,” he said.

Photo by Arry Schofield / The Louisville Cardinal