IBHE demands budget change

By Peter Schuh

NIU will have to reallocate 8 to 10 percent of its administrative budget as the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s Priorities, Quality and Productivity initiative takes its next step.

IBHE Chairman Arthur Quern announced during the IBHE’s meeting last Tuesday that he wants Illinois public universities’ 1993 productivity reports to include their administrative reallocation plans.

PQP is the IBHE’s streamlining initiative designed to better focus resources in higher education.

As a guideline for universities, the IBHE has established “bench marking analysis.” The IBHE has compiled the administrative and support systems costs of the universities across the state and listed the average cost for each service.

“We’re not just asking people to look at these numbers and to explain them.

“If your numbers are out of line with the state average, unless there is an overriding reason, you should be looking at how to bring that cost down. The reallocation of the 8 to 10 percent in these administration funds is essential to reconstruction (of Illinois’ higher education system) through PQP,” Quern said.

In response to Quern’s demands, IBHE Board Member Robert English reminded the board, “Let’s keep in mind we’ve said this is not a budgetary action. We cannot run these schools without these (administrative and support) services.”

Quern said universities should have already begun to determine what reallocations they need to make.

“This is not a subject which is just arriving,” he said. “This has been part of PQP from the start. People will have to had looked at these numbers for some time if we are to achieve the 8 to 10 percent allocation we are aiming at. I don’t want to see any more reports on this. I want to see action,” he said.

While the universities are being asked to make their own examinations and report them to the IBHE, the IBHE staff also will submit its own recommendations.

Bob Wallhouse, IBHE executive deputy director, said, “We (IBHE staff) intend to recommend to the board in November a game plan for next year, obviously in line with the PQP guidelines.”

NIU Provost J. Carroll Moody said, “We (NIU administration) have already identified the full three-year PQP reallocation targets that the IBHE has set so we’ll be able to report to the IBHE exactly what those reallocations will be.

“Whether or not we specifically met those reallocations category by category I’m not sure,” he said. “We’re reaching the overall reallocation targets.”

Moody admitted NIU administration could have trouble meeting the IBHE’s 8 to 10 percent reallocation requirement for administrative and support services.

“There are so many elements that we certainly wouldn’t consider to be administrative costs,” he said. “I think that’s the problem in saying, ‘Yes, we’ll meet the targets.'”

Moody said a lot of focus of NIU’s reallocation will be put on academic departments.

“One of the highest growing administrative costs had been at the department levels,” he said. “Much of the college reallocations have been focused on departmental costs.”

NIU’s 1993 Productivity Report, which will include NIU’s recommendations on the administrative and support services cuts, is due to the IBHE on Sept. 15.