Nov. 10, 2003 In a special meeting Saturday, the UVI Board of Trustees approved a resolution that authorizes $1.5 million in gap-funding from the school's Quasi-Endowment Fund, a contingency reserve controlled by the board and last used in the aftermath of Hurricane Marilyn.
The board met to gain consensus on a single question: Would the members agree to dip into the endowment fund to fill in the gap created by the decrease in government funding to the territory's only institute of higher learning?
According to the Governor's 2004 budget which has yet to be approved by the Legislature UVI is faced with a reduction in government appropriations for fiscal year 2004 projected at $2,255,656. The governor has asked for a total appropriaton of $25,342,414 to support the school.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the Finance Committee, chaired by Roy D. Jackson, held a special meeting. The panel developed a resolution for approval by the board that would address the funding gap: revenue-generating and cost-reduction strategies to cut the shortfall to approximately $1 million.
The committee determined that $500,000 would be needed to provide seed money to implement the cost-reduction strategies. The combination of the $1 million gap in funding and $500,000 in seed funding would require an addtional $1.5 million to meet the operating needs for fiscal year 2004.
The challenge facing the finance committee was expressed by Vincent Samuel, finance assistant chairman. "How would we go forward with a reduction to the budget and continue to fund initiatives that would allow the university to go forward?" Samuel asked. The proposal was presented to the full board for their consideration.
The cost-cutting and revenue-generating strategies the board will be introducing will produce approximately $1.2 million from various sources, including tuition, fees, workforce training, process redesign, campus restructuring and a reduction in auxiliary subsidies. The appropriation for the endowment will allow UVI to meet its operating needs for fiscal year 2004.
"The institution must remain viable," UVI President Dr. LaVerne E. Ragster said on Saturday. "This is a sustainability mechanism that we are putting in place to allow UVI to get on better footing."
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