EWU's budget plan cut more than $26 million - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EWU's budget plan cut more than $26 million

CEHENEY, Wash. - Eastern Washington University announced Tuesday it will implement budget reductions through a series of moves.

The University's budget process included open budget forums which involved faculty and staff. In addition, the University Budget Committee, the Faculty Senate and the President's Executive Committee collaborated to address how EWU will implement the $13.3 million operating budget reduction. This will result in permanent cuts of more than $26 million during the 2009-11 biennium.

"Even though we are making these reductions, we will continue to maintain the integrity of the University's educational mission by protecting student instruction and support," said Arévalo. "The hiring freeze I implemented more than a year ago, in anticipation of this difficult situation, will help minimize the amount of actual layoffs."

President Rodolfo Arévalo noted key elements of the $13.3 million budget reduction, which will occur in two phases:

  • In phase one, $9.6 million in cuts will occur through operating budget reductions and the elimination of roughly 110 positions. Because of the hiring freeze, about 45 percent of those are vacancies that will not be filled.
  • Positions to be eliminated represent an approximate workforce reduction of 8.8 percent for faculty (part-time and unfilled full-time), 11.5 percent for classified staff and 14 percent for administrative exempt positions.
  • Budget cuts will result in larger class sizes and increased workloads for all employees.
  • Reorganization within the University, including the consolidation of colleges, will be fully examined. Under the President's direction, Information Technology Services has also been identified for consolidation.
  • Phase two reductions will address the remaining $3.7 million deficit, and will be implemented by late summer based on the level of tuition increases set by the Board of Trustees.

Arévalo stresses that while $5.52 million in federal stimulus funds are softening the blow, those funds are only for the next two years and Eastern must carefully plan for the future in case the economic climate does not improve.

Eastern's Board of Trustees will hear proposed budget details at 1 p.m., Friday, May 15, in Tawanka Commons, Room 215. A public comment period will be held at this time. 

During the meeting, the Board will be presented with three scenarios based on various tuition increases of up to 14 percent.

The Board will make a final decision on the budget, and the possible tuition increase, at its June 25 meeting on campus.

Those who cannot provide input at the May 15 Board meeting may submit comments by June 19. That can be done via e-mail at boardoftrustees@ewu.edu or by writing a letter to: EWU Board of Trustees, 214 Showalter Hall, Cheney, WA 99004.

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