State requests budget cuts

A 5 percent budget reduction may be on the docket for UTD in the next fiscal year, due to a request by the Texas legislature for all state agencies to cut back.

“Rather than having to scramble around and deal with the budge in crisis mode, we felt it would be better to have the agencies take a close look at their operations and their mandates and economize as much as possible in their budget requests,” Talmadge Heflin, Republican representative from Houston and House Appropriations Committee Chairman, told The Dallas Morning News.

Although not set in stone, the UTD administration will await word from UT System Chancellor Mark Yudof before making any preliminary preparations.

“It’s too early to speculate,” said Larry Terry, executive vice provost. “It’s 5 percent now, it could be something different down the road.”

But with an already tight budget limiting UTD’s growth, the first aspect to be cut will be additional faculty.

“If we were to be required to make a 5 percent cut, it would adversely affect hiring faculty,” Terry said, but added that UTD will “comply with their wishes.”

Less state support for higher education is becoming a trend, Terry said. If the legislature makes the request, the budget cut will slow UTD’s strive for top-tier status.

Robert Lovitt, senior vice president for business affairs, said he did not know which aspects of the budget would be cut or modified, but that UTD would work through the situation.

“It’ll be a cabinet decision (what aspects are cut). We’ve done this before, we just have to hope this doesn’t come true,” Lovitt said.

Terry also agrees that UTD will make the most of a tough situation.

“When we are put in a tight situation, we want to protect our core values. That basically means a quality education for students – that’s what’s important to us,” Terry said.

The budget cut would not affect students, Terry assured, although the administration is unsure of the severity since it is still a request.

“(The budget cut) may slow (UTD’s progress) somewhat if it happens, but we are optimistic and we have a “can-do” attitude.”

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