Board of Regents discusses $10 million budget cut for fiscal year 2020

President Timothy Caboni listens during the Board of Regents meeting on April 12, 2019. The Board of Regents discussed future budget cuts during its meeting on Friday.

Jack Dobbs

Editor’s note: This story previously stated that WKU’s budget would see a 5% decrease in tuition. WKU’s tuition will actually increase by 2%. The university will see a 5% decrease in revenue from tuition. The Herald regrets the error. 

A proposed $10.2 million budget cut for fiscal year 2020 was presented to the Board of Regents Friday by Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Ann Mead.

If approved, the cuts will subtract $3.4 million from all five of WKU’s colleges, with the largest cut being placed on Potter College of Arts and Letters at over $1.2 million.

“We have to make sure these reduction targets are achievable,” Mead said.

The proposed cuts come after a recommendation was made by the Executive Budget Committee to WKU President Timothy Caboni on March 15.

The proposed cuts were also presented by acting Provost Cheryl Stevens. Stevens said that the budget was formed along with the associate provost for finance. Stevens said that the deans of WKU’s colleges were presented with the budget.

“They understand what it is and they understand why,” Stevens said. “They were all on board with that.”

Sevens also said that, along with the $3.4 million cuts from the colleges, the remaining cuts will come from “auxiliary and support units,” or any campus service that does not deal directly with students.

Student Government Association President Stephen Mayer, who also serves as student regent, said that he was satisfied with the proposed cuts.

“I think they went through a great process to look at our reductions,” Mayer said. “I applaud them for not making the list from a top-down approach and telling the colleges what we have to cut this year.”

According to the meeting’s agenda, the budget plan will include several “fixed cost increases,” such as faculty promotions, employer health insurance and contractual obligations totaling $1.6 million.

According to the agenda, the budget also includes the creation of a “strategic investment fund” to provide “seed money” that can be set aside to grow, fund or enhance programs until sufficient revenue is attained to sustain the initiative.

Also included in the budget, WKU will see a 5% decrease in revenue coming from tuition and mandatory student fees, according to the agenda for the meeting.

The Board of Regents will vote on the fiscal year 2020 budget, which will include the proposed cuts, during its next meeting on June 21. 

The proposed cuts are as follows, according to the meeting’s agenda:

  • Gordon Ford College of Business: $266,058

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences: $391,109

  • Potter College of Arts and Letters: $1,253,585

  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering: $859,895

  • College of Health and Human Services: $638,653

  • Total: $3,409,300

Reporter Jack Dobbs can be reached at 270-745-0655 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @jackrdobbs.