March 9, 2004
Carol J. Schlueter
Phone: (504) 865-5714
Just when we're finally getting accustomed to writing dates with "2004," Tony Lorino has to shake things up. He's pushing the campus to start thinking 2005. Fiscal Year 2005, that is.
Tulane's new fiscal year is right around the corner, dawning on July 1, 2004, and stretching until June 30, 2005. In financial terms--those dictated by Tony Lorino, senior vice president for operations and chief financial officer--that means on July 1, like it or not, Tulanians will officially be in FY '05.
But we all have lots of work to do to get ready for the dawn of the new fiscal year. Whether you're a supervisor giving personnel evaluations, or an employee being evaluated, or an office manager inputting your new budget information in the new web-based BDS (the Budget Development System), new-year planning touches nearly all of us.
A key part of the process actually started back in December, when the Board of Tulane approved the FY '05 budget guidelines. Those guidelines include some numbers relevant to everyone. Tulane has allotted $7.2 million for a merit salary pool to provide a 2.5 percent merit increase for faculty and staff. Units can elect to provide higher increases provided that they have "a positive bottom line and positive net operating margin," as well as a sustainable source of funding and the blessing of their senior officer, Lorino said.
Lorino added that last year--starting July 1, 2003--the retirement benefit for staff was raised to 8 percent, matching that of most faculty, so no retirement increase is planned for the new year. Projected revenue for '05 will include increases in the costs for both tuition and room and board, but student fees will stay the same.
Total annual charges for undergraduate students will go up 4.47 percent or $1,674 to a yearly total of $39,125. Those numbers include a 4.7 percent increase in tuition and fees, to $31,210 annually, and a 3.59 percent increase in room and board, to $7,915. Speaking of numbers, here's an important date to circle on your calendar: April 2. That's the deadline for budgeting to be complete and for all performance evaluations to be turned in to human resources.
"The Budget Development System shuts down April 2," said Gene Meyers, director of the budget office.
By that date, all budgeting must be approved by senior officers and completed in the online system for salaries and operating supplies, expenses and equipment. About 300 Tulane employees are authorized users of the Budget Development System, which means they are working now to fill out forms for budgets and salary expenses for the new year. For the first time, the system can be accessed online through a website, thanks to a conversion by technology services.
"If you have access to the Internet you can have access to BDS," Meyers said. Budget reports can be generated and printed at the desktop instead of having to be picked up at technology services as in the past. The performance evaluation process will follow similar forms and procedures as used in recent years, said Cheryl Avera, director of compensation and records. Evaluation forms are available online at www.tulane.edu/~hr/.
Departments must have their completed evaluations filed with the Office of Human Resources prior to the April 2 budget deadline in order for employees to receive merit raises. Avera said, "Supervisors are reminded that only those employees receiving an overall score of 3.0 or better (on evaluations) are eligible to receive a merit increase, effective July 1. Employees do have to have been employed at least six months to be eligible as well."
Training sessions on making evaluations have already been conducted for those supervisors who have requested it. Anyone needing additional training or having questions can contact Human Resources. The university is midway through the second year of using the Decentralized Management Center, or DMC, budgeting model, which has changed the way the campus operates in financial terms.
The 14 "closed" operating units of the university--the schools and colleges, some centers and the athletics department--must balance their individual revenues against expenditures. At the same time, units share in the "allocated costs" of the university. Lorino says he is pleased at the DMC progress so far. The first fiscal year this system went into effect, FY '03, "closed out with very positive results," he said.
"The DMC model actually worked the first year. Most units showed improvement over their ongoing targets." And when the 2004 fiscal year ends on June 30, the university will be in a good position as FY '05 begins. "I'm confident with the projections for '05. Clearly the majority of units are showing progress. It really is looking pretty good."
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