Letter from WSU officials updates faculty, staff about upcoming budget cuts

‘Several uncertainties remain,’ writes vice president of finance; university will recalculate cuts based on each area



The university will implement a $37.2 million budget cut for fall due to the financial impact of COVID.

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen reporter

WSU officials wrote a letter that updated faculty and staff on the upcoming school-wide budgetary cuts. The university needs to reach a state-mandated reduction of $37.2 million. 

The school will not implement furloughs at this time, wrote Stacy Pearson, WSU vice president of finance and administration, in the letter. 

Areas with a large amount of surplus money may use it to reach the required $37.2 million budget cut. This means areas that have positive balances can use up to 5 percent of that balance for the overall reduction. 

“Based on this preliminary assessment, a portion of these carryforward funds can be used to offset up to $5 million of the University $37.2 million [fiscal year] 2021 reduction target,” Pearson wrote. 

The university will recalculate each area reduction target based on 10 percent of the permanent budgets made on June 30, according to the letter. This recalculation means cuts are not uniform across all departments, and the university will make reductions based on the fiscal situation of each area it reviews. 

“The planning targets were based on estimated [permanent budget line] balances,” Pearson wrote. “This revision will determine reductions based on the true planning-level budget of each area going into [fiscal year] 2021.”

Approximately $2.5 million of central savings will be used to mitigate cuts at the College of Arts and Sciences, WSU Libraries and the Office of External Affairs and Government Relations. These areas, Pearson wrote, help students “achieve their educational goals.” 

The Budget Office will provide the final fiscal year reduction goals by Aug. 7 and templates for future fiscal year budget plans on Aug. 30. These templates will be due on Sept. 30. 

As the university moves into fall 2020, Pearson wrote that “several uncertainties remain.” Deeper state cuts could still happen, and more budget reviews will most likely be conducted throughout the process, according to the letter.