Budget ‘healthy’ after woes last year

by Ben Rodgers

After last years budget crisis, Simpson College is happy to announce that the budget is in a healthy condition.

“I think everybody can agree that the college is in a strong financial position this year,” Steve Griffith, senior vice president & academic dean, said.

Last year Simpson College had problems with budget that led to faculty layoffs and a hiring freeze.

A lot of what contributed to this was the low amount of enrollment of the 2011 freshman class with the number of 332

This year the freshman enrollment is up to 408 students.

“The first year fulltime enrollment is up which helps increase our revenue,” Griffith said.

Of course help with the budget goes beyond the enrollment of this years freshmen class.

“The freshmen class played a big role but so did the number of transfer students and the retention of our returning students also contributed,” President John Byrd said.

The current size of full time undergraduate students at Simpson is 1,422.

“Our original budget projection was 1,356 full time students,” Ken Birkenholtz, vice president for business and finance, said. “So obviously we have more full time students and thus more revenue going into this fall then we did last year, or what was anticipated in the pulmonary budget for this year.”

In the last faculty meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 12, Byrd announced two issues regarding the budget.

First had to do with academic department budgets. Last year all academic departments were cut 20 percent across the board. In the faculty meeting, Byrd announced that this 20 percent would be restored in the current year.

The other issue regarding the budget was the announcement of a staff and faculty raise. In the budget projection written last spring, it was said that there would be no raises.

“I have requested from the Board of Trustees that we amend the pulmonary budget that was approved back in the May board meeting and add additional dollars to the budget, so that we’ll be able to make improvements to salaries across campus for both faculty and non-faculty,” Byrd said.

The enrollment for this year has helped with the possibility of raises in salary.

“What made this decision possible is that the enrollment this fall was very strong and that created a revenue stream that provides the budget money that can offer raises in salaries,” Byrd Said.

Neither the board of directors nor the school administration has announced the amount of the raise.

“This is a very positive thing for the college that we can do this,” Birkenholtz said. “I think a lot of our success this year was due to our faculty and staff becoming more engaged in the recruiting process and I think this an opportunity for us to help recognize this effort.”

After last years faculty cuts Simpson College will not be anticipating any faculty cuts for the current year. Along with that the college will soon begin recruiting for a number of positions, both faculty and non-faculty, with the intention of being able to hire people with next years budget.