Following the October Board of Trustees meeting, senior staff discussed Knox’s future financial path of the college and the development of the Knox 2022 strategic plan at open forums on Nov. 5 and Nov. 6.
President Teresa Amott stated that the board of trustees approved a budget with a $4.5 million deficit, down from a budget with a $5.2 million deficit that had been presented to the board in June.
The understanding is that Knox will continue to work to cut the deficit down over the course of the year, as the amount that’s left over by the end will have to be covered by reaching into unrestricted gifts to the college and Knox’s endowment.
The Board of Trustees set their expectations that Knox will make reductions to have a deficit below $2 million for the 2021 fiscal year, and below $1 million for the 2022 fiscal.
Amott acknowledges these will be difficult marks to reach, especially as Knox is not fully in control of the factors that may impact its fiscal situation. She stated that Knox’s strategy for meeting the path set out by the board will involve fundraising, expense management and investments.
With a 3.28% rise in comprehensive cost being expected for next school year, Amott discussed how making Knox affordable for students partially involves being financial efficient, with projects like the steam pipes renovations expected to reduce past financial waste.
Amott noted that she also discussed with the board the early retirement program Knox had introduced, stating that 10-11 individuals had taken it, more than was expected. While some of these positions will need to be replaced, the expectation is that some of the vacancies will be eliminated and therefore save costs in the future.
Among the questions asked to senior staff on Tuesday was whether Knox had considered filling vacancies with faculty that would be shared between Knox and another college, such as Monmouth. Amott stated that this had been considered and pursued, though as of yet no such arrangement has been worked out.