Southeast Missouri State to face 'critical financial challenges' - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southeast Missouri State to face 'critical financial challenges' due to state budget cuts

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)

The president of Southeast Missouri State University says the school will face some "critical financial challenges" in the spring semester.

Carlos Vargas announced the university's budget will be cut by $3.43 million.

In a letter to faculty and staff, Carlos Vargas explained the budget challenges are a direct result of cuts to the Missouri state budget.

Vargas said the projected state revenue growth did not meet the expectations that lawmakers hoped for the 2017 state budget.

In the letter, Vargas said the state needed to make more withholdings than former Governor Jay Nixon made last summer and fall.

For that reason Governor Eric Greitens announced on Monday he authorized cutting $55.9 million from the higher education budget for FY2017.

This is a part of the $146.4 million of spending restrictions Greitens says is constitutionally required to balance Missouri's budget.

Vargas put it this way:

Those of you who have been at Southeast over the past decade know that we have dealt with tough budget challenges in the past.  In the spirit of collegiality, we have worked cooperatively to make decisions for the larger benefit of the institution.  Difficult decisions will again need to be made over the next several months.

Vargas says the school's "historic" Budget Review Committee will be activated to review the withholdings and brainstorm ideas on how the school can increase revenues, reduce expenditures, and create cost-saving efficiencies.

The president is hopeful that by working together, the university can overcome the economic challenges.

"We will need to work together to find solutions and compromises to minimize the effect budget cuts may have on our mission of serving students and our region," Vargas wrote in the letter.

The president noted despite the budget challenges, there are many positive and encouraging projects in progress on campus.

Vargas said the school will continue to focus on enrollment, retention and graduation goals.

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