USU looks for possible long-term savings to help with $4 million budget cut

Study, study, study.It’s how students spend their time on Utah State University’s campus, and now it’s what USU President Stan Albrecht is doing as he decides how to implement another round of budget cuts. For the 2012 fiscal year, the Legislature placed another $4 million budget cut on the already strained university, bringing the total cuts in the past three years to $24.2 million in ongoing cuts and another $9.9 million in onetime cuts, said Tim Vitale, USU spokesman. In the past years, administration has combated budget cuts by reexamining finances and cutting out any fluff. Years later, with budget cuts still being assigned by the Legislature, administrators are having to make difficult decisions. The Budget Reduction Committee made many recommendations to Albrecht, some of which were already put into action July 1 and others which need to go through a review process. One-time funds are being used to fill in some of the 2012 budget gaps until the review process is complete and full budget cuts are implemented. While there is a possibility of having to cut personnel, Vitale said it is too early to tell how fiscal year 2012’s budget will effect human resources. In looking for ways to implement long-term savings to the university, Albrecht will be analyzing the Utah State University Press, The College of Natural Resources, USU office space in a Salt Lake City Wells Fargo building and the university subsidy to short-term disability insurance, as recommended by the Budget Reduction Committee. Albrecht will study these entities and consult with groups of the Faculty Senate, Professional and Classified Employee groups, the Board of Trustees and sometimes the Board of Regents when making final decisions about these groups. “I underscore that the review process could also move us in a quite different direction than initially recommended by the committee,” Albrecht said in a prepared message. Some budget decisions have already been made for FY 2012 and were placed in effect July 1. These decisions, as listed in “Message from President Albrecht,” include:- Returning $15,000 total from retirements or terminations that occur in fiscal year 2012 from each academic college. The remaining salaries for these positions will stay with the college.- Eliminating funding for the Computer Information Literacy Program, saving $80,000.- Moving the Department of Computer Science from the College of Science to the College of Engineering and ending the current search for a lecturer in the department, saving $100,000.- Discontinuing the Office of International Education’s seed grant funding program, saving $100,000.- Reorganizing the administrative structure of the Office of Student Services, saving $50,000. Some positions will be eliminated or downsized. – Eliminating an open staff position in the Office of the Vice President for Research and an open administrative position in the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance, saving $220,000.- Reducing $100,000 of general funding to the Office of the Vice President for Commercialization and Regional Development.The budget also reflects implementing cuts from the university’s statewide budgets:- $347,330 from the collective budgets of the Logan campus’ academic colleges and the School of Graduate Studies.- $303,339 from the collective budgets of the Price and San Juan campuses.- $170,100 from the regional campuses’ collective budgets (Uintah Basin, Southeast, Brigham City and Tooele).- $461,300 from the collective budgets of the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service.- $33,100 from the Utah Water Lab.Vitale said there’s no telling how long the review process will take. “We have a fiduciary responsibility to have a balanced budget, and we will have a balanced budget,” Vitale said. – rachel@cvdaily.com

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