The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Budget forum tells of spending woes

Guilford ended the 2006-07 fiscal year in June with a $1.4 million deficit but now, after a $600,000 budget cut, the college’s budget is back on track.

The 2006-07 deficit and the resulting budgetary modifications are at the center of the ambiguous state of Guilford’s economic fortunes, which was the focus of the annual budget forum, held Nov. 14 in the Leak room.

Members of the budget committee were scattered throughout the moderate sized crowd that trickled into the room throughout the hour-long forum session. Various faculty and staff made appearances. President Kent Chabotar slipped in mid-way through and sat in the back of the room for the remainder of the forum.

“One of the most common questions we get in budget meetings is how did we get here?” said Heather Hayton, budget committee chair, as she began her introduction to this year’s forum. “One of the things that has contributed to where we are financially is that we committed as a campus to building new student housing a couple years ago . which has limited our ability to borrow more money.”

But the new apartments are just one of several constraints upon Guilford’s financial situation. Hayton detailed the hiring of new faculty, the delayed launch of capital campaign outlined in the Strategic Long Term Plan (SLRP), rising inflation, the massive renovations of Duke and King Halls, and a decrease in both CCE and summer enrollment. All have taken their toll on the budget.

The college projected continued growth for the 2006-07 fiscal year but growth, (specifically CCE growth) dropped, leaving a sizeable gap in the budget. The resulting $600,000 budget cut was taken out of every department from campus life to IT&S.

“Last year was the first year we have had a deficit in a long while,” said Brennan Aberle, treasurer of Community Senate. “We only get income three times a year (at the beginning of fall, spring and summer sessions). We spend money every day and we need to keep track of that.”

Aberle was one of five students at the forum, the highest student attendance rate in the last four years.

After Hayton’s brief introductory presentation, the floor was given over to the audience. Many topics were touched upon including the potential for a large increase in tuition prices. An enormous price increase was deemed unlikely because the school wants to remain affordable for as many potential students as possible.

“This may be a strange question,” said Jim Hood, associate professor of English and current head of the English department. “But if this were your home budget, what would you do to fix it? Would you get a new job, cut back expenses, go and sell lemonade on the corner?”

“There is no silver bullet that is going to solve our current financial situation and make (us) look like we are Earlham,” Hayton said. “(But) the path we are on is a good one . we are increasing the value of the college in the long term. That doesn’t mean (we) can ignore the short term. If this were my home budget it would mean I was eating ramen a little bit more.”

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