LIMA — Rhodes State College President Cynthia Spiers, in a letter to employees dated May 11, said an anticipated 20% reduction in state funding for Fiscal Year 2021, coupled with declining enrollment, will likely lead to “unavoidable” cuts to staff and programming at the school.
In her letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Lima News, Spiers said it was learned last week that Rhodes State’s final three-month State Share of Instruction payment for FY 2020 had been reduced by more than $418,000 as state spending is being scaled back due to the novel coronavirus.
The college president said an expected 20% reduction in state funding for the upcoming fiscal year equates to an anticipated $2.2 million loss in revenue to the institution.
Spiers was not available for comment on Friday.
Classroom sessions at Rhodes State were suspended in March as the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the region. Students completed spring semester course work online and will do the same with summer classes. Plans for the fall semester remain up in the air, but what is clear is that college officials will be required to tighten their belts.
Coupled with the reduced state payments, any further decline in enrollment — which has shown a downward trend over the past eight years — “will have a significant impact on our operational and personnel budgets,” Spiers said in her letter to employees.
“Given this situation and looking forward, it is unavoidable that academic and non-academic programs and operations will be impacted by a reduction-in-force. Unfortunately, this will involve layoffs,” the president said. “During FY 2021 further reductions-in-force will be realized through a college-wide reorganization.”
It is also unclear how budget cuts might affect construction work at the college’s Center for Health, Science, Education and Innovation site in downtown Lima. In a statement to the community recorded from her home on May 5 and posted on YouTube, Spiers said construction on the new facility “is continuing” and is on pace to be completed by the summer of 2021.