Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has made significant cuts in its expenditures in direct response to the national and global economic crisis and as a result of reduced capital from the Seminary’s endowment. President Dean K. Thompson and CFO Patrick A. Cecil announced today the decision to make additional significant cuts in order to reduce the Seminary’s 2009-2010 budget.
In a letter to faculty, employees, and students dated April 14, President Thompson shared the decision to reduce eight staff positions and to implement an across the board salary freeze for all Seminary employees, including step increases.
In February, Thompson, Cecil, and Board Chair Pamela G. Kidd had announced immediate steps that would be taken to reduce expenditures, following December financial reports and in response to economic uncertainties. Those initial cuts included:
- Suspending the search for the Director of Field Education,
- Reducing capital spending, such as upgrades to information technology and additions to property, plant, and equipment,
- Reducing the number of issues of the Mosiac magazine,
- Reducing housekeeping services and exterior maintenance of Seminary grounds,
- Temporarily reducing acquisitions for the library collection,
- A reduction of 6% by all departments in other less major expense categories, and
- Freezing the cost of living adjustment.
“While our expense reductions have been substantial, they appear to be inadequate, as we look ahead to what the impact of a significantly lower endowment will mean to future spending,” stated Thompson in today’s letter to the campus community.
Cecil said before making the decision to cut positions, they had done extensive analysis, looking for areas to reduce spending even more.
“However, with the budget make up as it is (55% personnel and 20% financial aid), it is nearly impossible to attain the reductions that will be needed to insure the long-term viability of the Seminary without impacting personnel-related spending,” the letter stated.
The letter identified the elimination of the positions of Marketing and Special Events Administrative Assistant; Acquisitions Specialist and the Circulation Supervisor in the E.M. White Library; Communications Assistant; Assistant to the Seminary Fund/Special Events Coordinator; Student Services Secretary; Administrative Secretary in Lifelong Learning/Advance Degrees; and Maintenance Technician II, a vacant position that will not be filled.
In a gathering with ongoing employees, Thompson said, “These reductions are grievous for all of us, and we will miss our colleagues in ministry more than our words are sufficient to express.”
Louisville Seminary, like many institutions across the nation, is addressing unprecedented financial challenges with hope that such cost saving initiatives are “prudent measures” at this time to respond to, in a proactive way, the uncertain economic conditions.
“While staff reductions are the last area we would choose to balance the budget, these are anything but ordinary times. The reductions will impact many areas of the Seminary. However, we are confident that adequate resources are being applied to meet the requirements of our core mission, namely, to prepare women and men for ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in other denominations of the wider church with the necessary skills and sensemaking that will meet the current needs of the church in the United States and will be responsive to the life and witness of global Christianity,” Thompson said.