University proposes cuts to balance FY07 budget

Administrators are finalizing details on how to fill an $8.2 million budget gap following a University budget proposal that reduces cuts to academic expenses.

Earlier this month, the University announced that $5 million would be cut from capital spending and $3.2 million would be cut from administrative spending to make up for an $8.2 million budget gap for the fiscal year 2007, which beings in July. Katz said the overall budget is about $390 million.

The University’s initial plan to fill the budget gap was to cut $4 million each from academic expenses, capital expenses and administrative expenses.

After reviewing the proposal, the Faculty Senate pressed administrators not to cut any funding from academics. The plan that administrators will take to the Board of Trustees this Friday for approval cuts between zero and $1 million from academics.

The University is asking the deans from GW’s nine schools to each submit a proposal to administrators about how to cut money from their school’s budget to total $1 million. The University will then take those proposals and reallocate the $1 million to one-year expenditures.

A second $1 million will be withheld from immediate spending and placed in a reserve fund until a University budget census in the fall. If the University has met enrollment and income projections, the $1 million will be taken out of the reserve fund and allocated to the schools.

“We are still moving forward in improving the overall student experience with the least amount of negative impact,” Katz said.

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said he is “optimistic” that the $1 million reserve fund will be reallocated by mid-October, following a fall census of University enrollment and income. “Projecting enrollment is not a science, and depending on our projections, we could be off by 100 students or directly on the mark,” Lehman said.

The University’s proposed budget also calls for $3.2 million worth of reductions from administrative spending. Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said three areas could be affected by the cuts – the Community Living and Learning Center, auxiliary enterprises and housekeeping.

He said about $300,000 could result from the “restructuring” of CLLC, which oversees housing. He said the changes announced in January to CLLC staffing, including the elimination of community facilitators in favor of class-specific advisers, would save money.

Chernak added that no students will lose housekeeping services next year, but Katz said some employee positions that have become vacant due to retirement may not be refilled.

Other areas Chernak said the University is eyeing for reductions include the free newspaper program in residence halls and the Mount Vernon Shuttle, which has become costlier to operate due to high gas prices. He said no final decisions have been made and after the Board of Trustees meeting, GW will consider how to specifically make budget reductions. The University considered cutting the newspaper program – which provides students with free issues of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today in residence halls – in 2004, but decided to keep it.

Katz said the University initially planned $12 million worth of cuts to reduce budget shortfalls in the FY 2008 budget, which could total $11 million.

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