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Cutbacks announced at Southern, Southwestern


Two of Southern Baptists’ larger seminaries recently announced measures to scale back in budgeting due to the worsening economy.

A Dec. 16 news release from Southwestern Seminary said the school is working to cut its budget by approximately 10 percent, or $3.5 million to $4 million. According to Baptist Press, among the reductions being made are “temporary suspension of many overseas travel programs and adjustments to campus facilities.”

The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., reported the same day that Southern Seminary would be cutting its budget, freezing hiring, postponing capital projects, and anticipating layoffs.

A deficit of as much as $3.2 million – 9 percent of its current $36.9 budget – is anticipated. A letter by President Al Mohler to the seminary community explained the cuts coming through losing a “significant portion” in value of endowment funds in financial market declines, lower donations, and hardship of students meeting higher tuition costs. He further projected another round of cuts for between $800,000 to $1.5 million. Seminary executives and trustees will meet early in the new year to plan cuts that likely will result in loss of employees, reported The Courier-Journal.

Southwestern’s statement specified two cutback areas.

• Suspending the work of its Naylor Children’s Center for at least 18 months. The center, which annually posts a deficit, according to the news release, is a laboratory school under the direction of the school of educational ministries that provides care and instruction for preschool age children from six weeks to age 5.

• Suspending its Oxford Study Program and all of the Traveling Scholar overseas on-site study trips with the exception of those directly related to the 2+2 missionary training program in the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.