By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
Delta State University revealed this week to faculty that it is currently experiencing a $1.7 million budget shortfall.
A Delta State faculty member, who wished to remain anonymous, reached out to The Bolivar Commercial with details of what was revealed on Wednesday afternoon.
The faculty member said they were told of a $1.7 million budget shortfall that was attributed to overly optimistic projections of revenue versus expenditures.
The person also said they were informed that auditors representing the Mississippi Institution of Higher Learning were on campus.
In a statement sent to The Bolivar Commercial, James Rutledge, vice president for finance and administration, addressed the concerns.
“Delta State did not meet its revenue projections for 2019-20, and for a period of years before that, causing a cumulative $1.7 million shortfall,” Rutledge said. “University officials made the decision to address the issues head-on and develop a realistic and sustainable budget.”
Rutledge said the Delta State University cabinet has been presented with a tentative plan and that the university does not intend to close programs, terminate employees or impose layoffs.
“None of the reductions in expenses will directly impact our students,” Rutledge said. “Although final enrollment figures won’t be reported on until Nov. 1, I will say that we have increased the number of full-time, full-paying students this semester, which will aid in increasing our revenue this year.”
Rutledge also said that the 2019 review of Delta State has not yet been scheduled by IHL.
Caron Blanton, a spokesperson for IHL, said in an email that IHL routinely contracts firms for audits but could not confirm if an audit firm had visited Delta State’s campus this week.
Rutledge said that regular campus forums hosted by President William LaForge for faculty, staff and students are to be scheduled soon.
The Bolivar Commercial will provide updates on this issue as they develop.