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SUNY shuffling campuses’ allowances

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Earlier this week the State University of New York Board of Trustees approved a budget formula that would reduce the allocation of state funds to some state campuses, but also approved a plan for aid during the transition to the new model.

The SUNY resource allocation model will redistribute the $787 million in state funding throughout SUNY, reducing SUNY Potsdam’s allotment by $2.89 million, or 21.6 percent, while increasing SUNY Canton’s allotment by $282,800 or 4.5 percent.

“SUNY staff have worked diligently and decisively to develop this new resource allocation model and they are to be commended for their attention to detail, consideration of campus needs across the system, and inclusivity of all stakeholders,” said H. Carl McCall, board chairman. “This new approach to resource allocation is fiscally sound and encompasses the needs of our system as a whole and those of each individual campus. We are highly confident that the new model will strengthen SUNY finances across the board.”

After $1.4 billion in budget cuts over the past four years, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher pushed the system to reconsider how it allocates funds.

“The new model will facilitate the rational, fair and sustainable financial planning we need to meet the very ambitious goals set forth in ‘The Power of SUNY,’” she said, alluding to a long-term strategic plan for the university.

“The extensive review of current practices and exhaustive study of national standards and best practices, along with a strong commitment to collaboration, communication between System Administration, the Board of Trustees, and campuses, represents a monumental achievement.”

The changes would be rolled out slowly over a three year period. On Tuesday, SUNY spokesman David D. Doyle said no campus should see a reduction in its spending ability during that period.

“The transitional aid approved by the board will make sure that no campus suffers a loss,” he said. “You have to remember campuses draw their revenue from two sources — the state budget and tuition revenue. Campuses will be able to keep their tuition revenue. This is what is best for the students.”

SUNY’s Board of Trustees approved a plan to provide transition funds for campuses which, like SUNY Potsdam, will suffer significant cuts to their state budget allotment.

SUNY campuses would submit plans to Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher for the strategic use of transition funds to address funding gaps by increasing their enrollment, the amount of federally funded research, or consolidated or shared administrative services. After a review, the chancellor’s office would distribute the funds.

SUNY Canton interim President Carli S. Schiffner and SUNY Potsdam President John F. Schwaller have both expressed support for the plan.

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