LU administration expresses commitment to ECDC
As the university addresses a $15 million budget cut in state support, administrators are focusing on the university’s core missions of teaching and research as they make budget adjustments.
All auxiliary operations are being evaluated to determine if they are the best way to continue to do business or if more efficient and effective means are possible, officials said.
Among those auxiliary operations is the Early Childhood Development Center that has run for years with significant financial support from the university’s budget. Recently, a letter was sent to parents of children enrolled there informing them of the necessity to increase tuition and fees to cover the loss of this subsidy. That change, however, was not intended to signal that the university no longer recognizes the value of the center to the community, officials said.
“Lamar University's Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) has provided high quality education and care for Beaumont area children for many years,” said Steve Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Indeed, many ‘Baby Redbirds’ have ultimately graduated from Lamar University, entered the workforce, married and had children, and ‘completed the circle’ by sending them to the ECDC.
“While this wonderful Center is not a part of the university's core mission, it is an important part of our commitment to the community,” Doblin said. “The present financial issues make it critical for all entities not supported by state funding to cover their own costs, and we believe that the strong demand for the services offered by this nationally accredited program will make this possible.
“Our commitment to providing the infrastructure and support to complement the funding generated by the ECDC has not and will not waver,” Doblin said.
As the university experiences “belt-tightening” measures in response to the decreased funding for state institutions, measures include a hiring freeze (except for critical positions), closure of the university’s print shop and supply center, closure of the university’s continuing education programs, travel restrictions, a hold on end-of-year expenditures and budget reductions.
To increase revenue, the university has submitted a request to The Texas State University System to be allowed to raise designated tuition from $120/hr to $155/hr (bringing total tuition to $205/hr for resident undergraduates). This has not yet been approved.
Lamar administrators stressed that closures are not a reflection on the work done in these areas, but are necessary because those operations are not core mission areas. Individuals affected by these closures are being encouraged to apply for critical open positions within the university that are a good fit with their qualifications, skills and experience.