From the president: After cuts, latest proposed adjustments to WWU's 2010-2011 operating budget are now online

Matthew Anderson
University Communications

The proposed adjustments to Western Washington University's 2010-2011 operating budget are now online, WWU President Bruce Shepard said in an e-mail message to the campus community this afternoon. The adjustments are necessary because the Washington state Legislature reduced funding for the university in its supplemental budget. As Shepard mentioned in his address, posted below, the latest budget included a new cut to Western's base budget of nearly $3.1 million and a one-time reduction of nearly $1.2 million.


I am writing to let you know that the proposed adjustments to our 2010-11 operating budget are now available for your review. As you likely know all too well, our 2010-11 budget had to be reduced because, as the state's financial situation worsened, the legislature was required to adopt a supplemental budget that included a new cut of $3,073,000 to our base budget and a $1,172,000 one-time reduction for Western.

We actually began anticipating this situation last summer and, thanks to the early and bottom-up involvement of so many, were prepared to act once the legislative requirements became final in March.

Our process requires that, first, possibilities be presented to campus -- on the web, via audio-cast of a day-and-a-half of oral presentations. That was completed several weeks ago. Then, the vice presidents, deans, and I were required to take the possibilities and form an actual proposal. That is the step that is now complete. The resulting report and recommendations are available on the web.

Your views may, indeed, differ, and there are opportunities for sharing your better ideas. This may be done through means identified in the report on the budget proposal and at an open forum to be held (and audio-cast) Tuesday of next week at 3:00 p.m. in Old Main Theatre.

I believe that this group has, under increasingly difficult circumstances, brought forward a proposal that faithfully delivers on the priorities and strategies that have been developed by the university, widely shared, and previously available to all for improvement.

On other matters, you may have listened in as we discussed possibilities for reinvestment as the 2011-13 budget is being developed. I hope you did. While we have about three challenging years ahead, now is the time to be figuring out how we intend to move ahead, and the discussions of these possibilities were energizing.

The budget proposal for 2010-11, now available, concerns adjustments to our ongoing, base budget. We are also required to come up with one-time savings through what is informally referred to as the "furlough bill." That, I explained in an earlier message to you (see "The Furlough Bill"). The only update I can provide at this time is that we have received valued advice from a number of groups and are awaiting direction from the Office of Financial Management (OFM). We have yet to receive that direction; we cannot move forward with a plan until we have that guidance; and, truly, no decisions have been made. We will, as soon as we have OFM's guidance, put before you a draft plan -- or, perhaps, several options -- for the campus and, where colleagues are represented, union leadership to evaluate and offer advice on.

Cutting budgets creates any number of challenges: to our commitments, our priorities, our morale, our sense of community. Real damage is done and we must acknowledge that. But, I am so proud of how you have responded constructively in these difficult times. You have kept your focus positively on the longer term and that is absolutely appropriate. Following that orientation, our top priority has been to maintain our capacity to respond positively and aggressively as things turn around. And, having listened to your thinking regarding opportunities ahead and having heard the extraordinary support and confidence in our university through the 100 Conversations, I have great confidence in our ability to move ahead. As the current serious challenges do pass, we are positioning ourselves for this premier university to blow past the already positive expectations so many have for Western.

My best,

Thursday, May 13, 2010 - 3:52pm