President Hargis praises energy savings efforts

December 22, 2015

TO:               OSU Employees

FROM:         Burns Hargis

 

As you probably know from recent news, Oklahoma is facing revenue shortfalls that will impact state budgets both this fiscal year and next. I wanted to make the campus aware of how Oklahoma State University is preparing for the challenges ahead.

Pending the final certification at the start of the legislative session, the state Board of Equalization has projected that the Oklahoma Legislature will have about $900 million, or nearly 13 percent, less for the fiscal year 2017 budget. In addition, when adjusted for one-time expenditures last year, the shortfall could reach $1.1 billion.

For the current fiscal year, the state is also estimating a revenue shortfall of between 2 and 4 percent, attributed, in large part, to the downturn in the energy industry.

As the revenue picture took shape the last half of 2015, Oklahoma State University began planning for possible cuts this year and next. We have met with campus leaders to manage the shortfall. We do not see this causing immediate disruption to our academic programs, although it will delay much-needed hiring and investments.

Regarding fiscal year 2017, we won't know the final picture until the legislature approves a budget, but we are already in discussions with unit leaders about their needs.

The State Regents have requested a flat budget for FY2017. Anything less will present additional challenges. We will work with state leaders through the budget process and I'm confident we will manage through this.

Student growth and our successful Branding Success fundraising campaign, as well as cost reduction and efficiency initiatives, have allowed us to address financial challenges and continue to fulfill our land-grant mission.

Top among our savings efforts has been the energy management program we launched in 2007. It has been successful thanks to the hard work and enthusiastic support of our employees. Through the behavioral-focused program we have saved more than $35 million in costs and reduced energy consumption by nearly 20 percent.

In closing, thank you for all you do for OSU. As we have done before, we will meet today's challenges and deliver value to our students and our state. Have a safe and happy holiday break.