President Geoffroy’s letter to ISU faculty regarding the 2012 budget

Dear Colleagues,

The Iowa General Assembly has determined our state appropriations for next year, and we can now complete our 2012 fiscal year budget, pending final approval by Governor Branstad. I want to thank everyone for your patience and understanding during this year’s unusually long state budget deliberations.

Our budget planning for the last several months has been built around an anticipated 7.3 percent reduction in our total state appropriations, which included a 6 percent base reduction and the loss of $3.2 million in one-time funds. We now know that the total reduction will be 5.1 percent, which includes a 3.63 percent reduction in the educational budget, loss of one-time funds and 6 percent cuts in all other appropriations, so our plans will be modified accordingly. While our appropriations are better than anticipated, managing this reduction will still be difficult, as it reduces our state appropriations to approximately the same level as the 1994 fiscal year.

We are pleased that the legislature approved the allocation of $1 million for the coming year to begin planning for construction of new facilities for Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, with the remaining $59.4 million to flow over the following three years. These funds, from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund, will join more than $14 million from alumni and friends to construct a state-of-the-art facility for one of our most outstanding programs.

At its June meeting, the Board of Regents approved a salary policy for Iowa State’s faculty and Professional and Scientific staff that establishes 0.5 percent as the minimum salary increase for faculty and staff who have been judged to have achieved satisfactory performance. Decisions about individual salary increases will be made by department chairs and supervisors following annual performance evaluations, and these will be communicated shortly. They will reflect planning and resources available within individual budget units, making it possible for some units to award increases higher than the 0.5 percent minimum.

Employee benefit plans for faculty and staff remain unchanged, with modest cost increases being absorbed by individual budget units. Compensation for employees covered by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) contracts will follow the terms of those contracts.

With our budget finalized, we can now look ahead to the coming academic year. Orientation for new students and their families has gone extremely well, with more than 11,000 students and parents visiting campus. Many positive comments were received about the warmth and friendliness of the members of our campus community, and I want to thank everyone who helped make orientation such a success. We anticipate another record enrollment, as students continue to seek out an ISU education because of the high-quality experience that we offer.

We were also pleased to close out the fiscal year with the official end of our comprehensive fundraising campaign, which exceeded its $800 million goal by more than $60 million. Those recently raised funds have already had a tremendous impact in so many areas across the university.

As we move into mid-summer, I want all of you to know how much I appreciate the outstanding work you do in meeting the needs of our students and our many other constituents, despite state support that has decreased by nearly 24 percent over the past three years. I also want to thank the many staff who work so hard to keep our campus looking beautiful and operating efficiently, despite the many challenges we have faced with severe storms and floods in recent years. We will continue to work with Iowa’s elected leaders to tell them about the valuable work Iowa State University does for the people of Iowa and how we need strong taxpayer support if we are to fulfill our mission at the level needed for the long-term success of Iowa.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and best wishes for a happy Fourth of July weekend!

Gregory L. Geoffroy