NSCS office may also take budget cuts

Nate Neary, Staff Writer

The 4 percent budget cut proposed by Gov. Pete Ricketts, set to take effect on July 1, 2017, will be felt across the state.
Possibly even the Nebraska State College Systems office in Lincoln.
Carolyn Murphy, the NSCS vice chancellor for Finance and Administration, was asked on Monday if her office would undergo cuts similar to those that Wayne State, Chadron State and Peru State are facing.
“The system office is reviewing its budget, just as the colleges are currently reviewing their budgets, for potential reductions or savings,” Murphy said.
Murphy also said that the state colleges would not be subject to the same cuts in terms of dollar amounts.
“Currently, there are target reduction amounts for each college based on the governor’s budget proposals for the 2017-19 biennium,” she said. “These preliminary amounts take into consideration current and proposed funding levels, as well as ‘core needs’ requirements for the biennium. These core needs requirements include salary increases, health insurance rate increases, utility rate increases, and other operating cost increases.
“There are still many variables included in the target amounts, and they are subject to change. However, we must move forward with reduction planning in order to be prepared for the biennium budget.”
When asked if faculty will be subject to reduction in salary increases, Murphy said that all salaries of faculty are negotiated by bargaining agreements through the board and faculty unions.These cannot be changed unless negotiations are re-opened.
Henry Miller, Wayne State College’s student trustee, expressed concern that Wayne State and the other state colleges would be under more fiscal restraints than UNO or UNL.
“Schools with a smaller budget will face more of an impact because we don’t have the donors that Lincoln or Omaha does,” Miller said.
“My concern is that a large percent of our students are first generation college students and a large percent of those receive federal aid, so these cuts may impact our most vulnerable students opposed to those who come from a more financially stable background,” Miller said.
“Choosing to disinvest in our state College public education system is denying the most vulnerable students the opportunity of higher education and is essentially a disinvestment in our state’s future,” Miller said.
Murphy was asked what message the NSCS systems office has for the colleges in this time of economic distress.
“We would characterize this more as a time of economic challenges,” she said.