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The University of La Verne will make $5.8 million in budget cuts for the 2009-2010 fiscal year in order to obtain a balanced budget.
“The cuts have been spread pretty broadly across the campus,” Stephen Morgan, ULV president, said this week. “We attempted to cut in areas that were not noticeable to students.”
Some of the cuts to the budget include salaries and wages, and operations. Many of these cuts will be achieved through not filling vacant positions, though layoffs are also a possibility, administrators said.
“It’s important to note that when we embarked on cuts, there were no sacred cows,” said Avo Kechichian, associate vice president and treasurer. “Everything was on the table except for financial aid.”
“It’s really hard to predict what’s going to happen the next fiscal year,” Kechichian said.
He said that the school has had to make cuts before.
“(But) this is the worst it’s been,” Kechichian said. “We’ve gone through cuts in the past, but not to this extent. They were necessary in order to present a balanced budget, but they are going to hurt.”
Kechichian said that it was necessary for existing resources to be reallocated in order to fund the budget initiative.
“Departments, faculty and staff need to be frugal in decision making processes of the next fiscal year to stay within their budgets,” Kechichian said.
There has been at least one layoff on campus and at least 18 vacant positions have been frozen.
The frozen positions include director of the Learning Enhancement Center, development director of the College of Business and Public Management, senior director of development in the College of Education and Organizational Leadership, director of research and executive director of the Mosaic Cultural Institute, and program coordinator of the residence hall administration.
“Positions could be modified and or eliminated in the process,” Morgan said. “We’d hope to have all of that done by the end of the summer.”
Though there have been many cuts, one of the areas spared in the 11th hour was retirement. The University had planned to reduce its contribution to employees’ retirement plans. But after review and input from people across campus, Morgan said that the decision was made to not touch retirement.
“It’s more important to protect people’s incomes,” Morgan said.
He said that though retirement will not be affected by the budget cuts, retirement could be back on the table if things do not improve and if the budget cuts are not enough.
“If things get tighter during the year probably one of the first areas we will look at will be retirement,” said Phil Hawkey, executive vice president.
“I’m very optimistic,” Morgan said. “We were very conservative in putting these numbers together for next year.”
Hawkey said that though there have been many cuts, money was put in to some departments.
He said that money has been put in to the College of Education and the College of Law so that they could complete accreditation. The College of Arts and Sciences faculty also will receive an equity pay increase to bring their pay – which is lower than that of their colleagues in ULV’s other colleges – closer to that of their colleagues.
“Not everything was cut, cut, cut,” Hawkey said. “As we make these budget cuts, we keep and eye on the aspirations of the University to become stronger.”
Hawkey said that much of the budget conversation happened because of the Budget Task Force, which was created to solve the budget issues.
The task force is comprised of administrators, faculty and classified employees.
“It turned out to be a very good shared forum on how the University works,” Hawkey said.
Hawkey said that the task force will re-assess the budget in the fall.
Susan Acker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.