Board of Regents approves budget revision

Budget revision graphic

Dustin Skipworth

The WKU Board of Regents approved budget revisions for the 2015-16 budget on March 25 during a committee meeting.

The budget shift totals $1,464,500 and comes from several university sources, including tuition revenue, revenue dependent programs and Study Abroad programs.

The money revised from the budget to meet cut requirements mostly came from revenue gained through international tuition and revenue dependent programs.

Chief International Officer Raza Tiwana said he could not comment on the use of international student tuition because his office did not govern the money, but international tuition is given to the university central fund the same way domestic tuition is handled.

The majority of money used in the revised budget went to pay personnel expenses and nonbudgeted positions, according to the action report from the Board of Regents. At least $240,000 in revenue from Study Abroad programs were used to pay for students’ travel expenses.

The spring and summer revenue used for this revision will tide the university over for now, but Ann Mead, senior vice president for the Division of Finance and Administration, said the university’s reserves will have to be tapped as well.

“We will use one-time money to get through this for the moment,” Mead said. “We will have to use our reserves going forward from this point.”

President Gary Ransdell elaborated on the complexities of both these budget revisions and the coming cuts issued by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin earlier this week.

“We are aware of the governor’s decision to proceed with cutting 4.5 percent from university budgets by withholding it from the fourth quarterly allotments that are scheduled for today,” Ransdell said. “Our budget is complex and nearly two-thirds personnel. We will likely have to tap some of our reserve funds to manage a $3.5 million reduction at this late date in the fiscal year, but we will make those decisions in the next few days.”

In addition to the budget revisions approved by the board, Bevin ordered an immediate 4.5 percent budget cut to higher education allocations in the state on March 31. This order comes amid a stalemate in the Kentucky State Legislature where lawmakers are struggling to come up with an official budget.

“Much uncertainty remains with the current situation in Frankfort,” Ransdell said in a statement to faculty and staff Monday afternoon. “Rather than speculate on the final outcome, we should remain focused on our students. With only a few weeks left in the spring semester, our students deserve our full attention.”

There has been pushback against Bevin’s decision to order immediate cuts to the higher education allotments, including from Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.

“The law on budget reductions is straightforward,” Beshear said Friday in a press release. “It requires a declared shortfall that does not exist. If it did, the last budget bill that was passed and signed into law dictates the steps that must be taken. We are therefore requesting the governor withdraw his order. We are confident he will comply.”

Ed. note: The online version of this article has been amended to more accurately reflect the distinction between the budget revisions approved by the Board of Regents for the 2015-16 budget and the cuts to higher education allotments ordered by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. The Herald apologies for any confusion related to this story.