Western Washington University is reducing the 2010-11 operating budget for the third time, and more cuts could be on the way depending on how the state budget continues.
The WWU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $3.04 million operating budget reduction on Friday, Oct. 8.
In September, Gov. Chris Gregoire asked state agencies to cut expenses for the 2010-11 fiscal year by about 6 percent, in an effort to close a state deficit that keeps growing due to low tax revenue. State agencies, including colleges and universities, were asked to submit supplemental operating budget requests by mid October. The state Legislature will consider the supplemental budgets, with their 6 percent reductions, when it reconvenes in January.
WWU’s proposal meet the $3 million expenditure reduction includes funding reductions for the Border Policy Reserach Institute and Canadian American Studies program, eliminating 14 low-enrollment programs, and bringing programs and departments that are in leased spaces back to campus.
In all, 43 positions will be affected by the cuts, with seven occupied positions being eliminated.
With the newest reduction, and after tuition and fee increases are added back in, about $17 million in expenditures has been cut from the 2010-11 operating budget, President Bruce Shepard told the board.
Due to feedback from the campus community about the proposed cuts, officials are holding off on consolidating the map and music libraries into Wilson Library. A group of university administrators and staff are looking at alternatives to consolidating the libraries while still reducing expenditures.
In determining where to make reductions, university officials used the process that’s been used for budgeting the past couple years. Vice presidents were given target amounts to cut from their planning groups. The vice presidents then worked with deans and directors to determine where cuts could be made.
Before trustees voted on the proposed supplemental budget request, Shepard warned them that more changes may come in January after the Legislature starts working on the state supplemental budget.
“I think that this university, by not dodging bullets, by acting responsibly…when things turn around, we’ll be in a good position to move ahead,” Shepard told the trustees. “We could have bought time until January, but if there are more cuts then, the university would be in trouble.”