Budget cuts forces Ramapo to readjust

As part of budget cuts, Gov. Phil Murphy froze $235 million in spending on July 8, $1 million of which was part of Ramapo College’s budget. Ramapo, whose operating staff made no official comment, has had to scale back in several fields.

“Right now, due to budget restrictions, we are only accepting applications from students who have a work study grant,'' said Emily Hutton, the course reserves coordinator at the temporary Potter Library. The library employs about 30 students each semester, but since students usually continue to work throughout their time at Ramapo, only about five new spots are available each semester. Due to said budget cuts, a work study grant is required to pick up an application.

The budget cuts came about after Murphy’s plans for inserting a series of taxes into New Jersey’s 2020 budget fell through. Various educational institutions lost money in the resulting cuts. Ramapo College’s general operations lost $1 million, as did The College of New Jersey and Thomas Edison University. Stockton University lost about $4.6 million, and Montclair University lost $7.5 million.

Other institutions and establishments that lost money include the Morris Canal Park in Jersey City, the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, and the Carteret Arts Center, all losing between $250,00 and $4 million. The money was frozen in July, and it is currently unclear if the money will be permanently slashed. 

“Make no mistake, I will continue fighting for tax fairness and fiscal responsibility well beyond (the) budget actions,” Murphy said, who inserted the budget cuts after his planned millionaire’s tax was rejected, was quoted as saying in July.

Luckily for the college, the budget for Ramapo’s multimillion-dollar library renovation is separate from the library’s operations budget and the general operations budget, according to Hilary Westgate – a reference and outreach librarian at the Potter Library. She said construction is funded through Institutional Advancement and is overseen by Capital Investments.

Additionally, other expenses are on their own budget, such as, according to the staff in the Instructional Design Center in the Anisfield School of Business, upkeep of the various 3D printers, costing several thousand dollars each.

It is unfortunate that the college’s budget has been cut; however, Ramapo College will move on. According to the 2018-2019 executive summary, Ramapo College’s normal operating cost is about $165 million. While $1 million is a significant amount of money, it is a loss the college will be able to overcome. Ramapo College will continue to thrive, and hopefully the new library's completion, planned for the winter of 2020-2021, will symbolize the college's growth.