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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 11:40pm

sed seal                                                                                                 




Cultural Education Committee &

Cultural Education Trusteeship Committee



Jeffrey Cannell


Report and Discussion on Office of Cultural Education Finances


June 1, 2010








Issue for Discussion

The discussion will review the overall financial status of the Office of Cultural Education, including a review of the status of the Cultural Education Account, OCE’s major financial account.  This will provide an update on how OCE’s programs are operating at current funding levels and the impact on services and programs. 

Reason(s) for Consideration


              To approve proposals for Board action to remediate the structural funding shortfall.

Background Information

The Office of Cultural Education (OCE) all funds budget plan, exclusive of Local Assistance, for fiscal year 2010/2011 totals $74,779,049.  Significant portions of that budget include $4.1 million for the Local Government Records Program of the State Archives; $10.1 million for the Cultural Resources Survey Program of the State Museum and $6.3 million in Federal support for the programs of the State Library.  However, the most significant component of the OCE budget plan is the $32.7 million Cultural Education Fund, which supports the majority of OCE’s programs.  

The OCE Budget plan is constrained by the declining revenues in the Cultural Education Fund.  As of June 1, 2010, this fund has a negative balance of nearly $6.5 million.   Moreover, the proposed Fiscal Year 2010/2011 budget authority proposed by the executive supports personnel costs for 18 fewer staff than current levels and approximately $5 million in non-personal service funding.   Program areas projected that to maintain minimal services, the non-personal service funding requirement would be approximately $7.4 million.  Therefore, OCE programs have reduced programs in the following ways:

Library materials acquisition will be reduced by 37% or $1,469,549.  This reduction negatively impacts the continuity/comprehensiveness of collection and severely impacts the overall quality of the collection and its value for research and as a “backstop” for those State agencies that are now are relying heavily on the Library's collection as they phase out their own library collections.

Leases for collections storage at the Rotterdam Industrial Park and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Technology Park consume approximately 80% of the total funding available for the State Museum’s programs.  Therefore, the State Museum will effectively eliminate all discretionary spending for Museum programs.  This eliminates all new temporary exhibits and a vast majority of spending to support field research, purchase of research equipment, maintenance on permanent exhibits, maintenance on software programs (including GIS software used by many business units in SED) and supplies and equipment for visitor services including wheelchairs and strollers that are frequently damaged through use.  In the current fiscal year, OCE will use some prior-year budgetary authority to cover selected one-time expenses related to exhibits in the Museum.

Other reductions include:

Reduction in the contract for binding of Library books and periodicals.  This compromises the long term preservation of library materials because of physical wear and tear of heavily used materials.

Reduction by 50% in support for Student Assistants. In addition to the impact on the direct educational work of the Library, important work in all library areas (public floor ERS, circulation desk duty, preservation/scanning) will not be done. 

Reduction in funds for package mailing (UPS).  This will result in delays, or inability to fill some interlibrary loan requests that require delivery through a parcel service.

Elimination of the NYLINK MOU.  NYLINK supports a portion of the cataloging function.  This reduction will result in a delay in cataloguing/processing library materials.

Elimination of the purchase of video production equipment for production of field services training and educational videos by the archives.  Efforts to transition to online education will be curtailed, and in-person training will also be reduced through reduced travel by field staff.

Reduction in OCLC webcrawl services.  Archives will not obtain records of State agency web sites on as frequent a basis, resulting in a smaller and less valuable documentary record of New York State government, which increasingly relies on the web for communication and documentation of government actions and decisions.

Cancellation of replacement computers in the Archives.  This will leave 4 and 5 year old increasingly obsolete computers in daily use.

Proposed Handling

Office of Cultural Education staff will seek the Regents immediate support for advocacy in the coming budget and advice on longer term remedies for program direction and alternative funding mechanisms for the coming years.