ENMU braces for state funding cuts

By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico University President Steven Gamble said he expects substantial cuts in legislative funding for the school during a special session in October.

At Friday’s ENMU Board of Regents meeting in the university Administration building, Gamble predicted ENMU would receive between a $1.2 million and $1.5 million less than normal in October.

That amounts to about a 4 percent cut after last year’s 3 percent to 4 percent decrease.

“So it’s not a pretty picture, but we’ll do what we have to do to comply with reductions we know are coming our way,” Gamble said.

Gamble said he hopes the anticipated additional cut from the Legislature in January will be as small as 3 percent. But if state revenue drops below $5 billion, the decrease could be larger, he said.

Also, Gamble said he didn’t expect to see funding formula benefits from the university’s growth in the next two legislative sessions, but direct income from that growth would help.

In another matter, ENMU Foundation donations were down last fiscal year at a total of $796,000, foundation board President Stephen Doerr said.

In the fiscal year ending in 2008, the foundation brought in about $868,000, and it received $1.4 million the year before that.

The foundation has raised $190,000 in the first quarter of this fiscal year, he said, which is “on pace” with last year. However, he hopes contributions will increase as the economy recovers.

Although Doerr initially blamed the suffering economy for the drop in revenue, he said foundation Executive Director Noelle Bartl discovered individual contributions remained the same.

The lower income came because the foundation had no large donations such as estate settlements, he said.

Doerr said the foundation didn’t lose much money in the recession because when the economy began to slow, leaders took the money out of the stock market and put it in certificates of deposit.

“We didn’t make a lot of money on CDs, but we didn’t lose anything,” he said.

Most of the money has been moved back to stocks now.

In other business, Regents:

• Heard ENMU-Roswell President John Madden says enrollment at his campus seemed to be settling in at about 14 percent above last year’s, which made for the largest enrollment increase in that school’s history and the second-largest total enrollment.

• Heard Vice President of Student Affairs Judith Haislett say she expected H1N1 vaccine to arrive around Oct. 15 and it will be used immediately. She anticipates the seasonal flu vaccine will come in around Oct. 27.

• Heard the presidents of all three campuses say their schools finished last fiscal year with money left over.