Economy prompts budget reductions at Tabor College

JulesGlanzer.jpg

JulesGlanzer.jpg In a meeting with faculty and staff on Friday afternoon, Tabor College President Jules Glanzer announced the nation?s economic downturn has forced him to cut more than $500,000 from the operating budget and reduce 11 employees from the campus workforce, beginning with the 2009-10 school year.

Glanzer announced the cuts as part of an optimistic and pragmatic plan to reposition the college for future success.

Glanzer said despite record-high student enrollment, fallout from the current recession left him no choice but to make painful cuts in the school?s $10 million operating budget, including the loss of three full-time faculty member, eight members of the administrative staff and discontinuation of the computer science program.

The displaced workers will receive severance packages to assist them in their transitions, according to the college.

Students enrolled as computer science majors will still receive the classes needed for them to graduate with their desired degrees.

?In its 100-year history, Tabor College has overcome some significant obstacles, including fire, wind, wars, economic depression and bad investments, to name a few,? Glanzer said.

?I am confident that we will also overcome the current economic downturn that has led to our current financial situation.?

Painful cuts

After his address, Glanzer led a prayer for the affected campus employees, many of whom attended the meeting after being informed by Glanzer in person the day before. They stood with heads bowed as tearful co-workers surrounded them in prayer.

?Tabor College is made up of wonderful people,? Glanzer said. ?People who sacrifice, believe in our mission, and are committed to Christ and his way in life. I love this place and I love the people that make up Tabor College. That is also the cause for the deep pain that I feel as I read these words.?

Glanzer said, thanks to Tabor?s administrative leadership in the past, ?our situation is not anywhere near what other institutions are experiencing.?

?Every other college president I have talked with is leading their institutions in some kind of budgetary reductions,? he said. ?Most are more severe than we are experiencing.?

Three-phase plan

The changes announced Friday are Phase 1 of a three-phase plan to redesign and reposition Tabor College for the future.

?The goal of Phase 1 is to balance the 2009-10 budget,? Glanzer said. ?Currently, we have a workforce that is larger than we can afford. I believe that a smaller workforce paid well is better than a larger workforce paid poorly. ?

The president?s decision to increase workers? salaries by 2 percent in 2009-10 continues the effort to raise Tabor?s pay scale, which ranks near the bottom for similar colleges in the region.

?Salary increases remain a priority for me,? Glanzer said. ?A smaller, well-paid workforce is to Tabor?s advantage. This increase is a step, although small, in that direction.?

Phase 2 of the plan includes investing in opportunities for growth, establishing financial policies that reduce the need for the college to borrow to meet its operating costs, and creating a contingency fund in the amount of $200,000 by 2015.

Phase 3 includes redesigning and restructuring the college, ?so that we can move from ?Survive to Thrive,? with a strategic plan for a new and more vibrant Tabor,? Glanzer said.

?I am convinced that Tabor has a bright future,? he added, ?but Tabor will need to embrace change, not because things are broken at Tabor, but so we can be prepared for a future which we do not know and in which we want to continue our mission being accomplished and our vision becoming a reality.

?We are preparing a new generation for a new world that is hard for us to even imagine. This requires a new Tabor as well. ?

Economic factors

Tabor College began its centennial year last fall with an enrollment of 612 students, the largest in the 100-year history of the college.

The freshman class, with 141 students, was the largest since 1988. The spring enrollment figures reflect this increase, as student enrollment grew almost 9 percent from the 2008 spring semester to the 2009 spring semester.

While a decline in student enrollment could require additional budget reductions in the fall, Glanzer said the current 2009-10 budget projections are based on another record or near-record enrollment.

?The actions we announced today are being driven by the current economic times,? Glanzer said. ?Even though Tabor College is more attractive than ever to students and parents, with the downturn we have lost our cushion for budget deficits. We need a budget that reflects this reality.?

According to Kirby Fadenrecht, senior vice president for business and finance, the college?s endowment fund has declined in value over the past year, as have other colleges? and universities? endowments that were invested in the equities market.

?The decline in value affects our ability to rely on earnings as funding toward our operating budget, so we are making adjustments accordingly,? Fadenrecht said. ?The change in value from the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2008 was about 23 percent.?

Stadium project

In his address, Glanzer pointed out that the cost of building the new athletic facility was having no adverse impact on the college?s operating budget.

?The capital cost of the new stadium and athletic facilities are all being borne by the generosity and gifts of our constituents,? Glanzer said. ?Funds from the operating budget are not being used in the construction of the stadium.?

Glanzer thanked the executive team for its hard work. The team includes: Lawrence Ressler, provost; Fadenrecht; Eric Codding, vice president of student life, learning, and formation; Rusty Allen, vice president of athletics; Linda Cantwell, vice president of enrollment management and marketing; and Jim Elliott, vice president for advancement.

?The executive team worked very hard, prayed much, and discussed in depth many options,? Glanzer said. ?In the end, it was these decisions that we united around and believe will make for a stronger Tabor in the future.

?Given the nature of these decisions, we have attempted to be as collaborative as possible. But in the end, the decisions were mine and I am the one to be held responsible for them.?

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