WKU looking to ease possible budget cuts

Cameron Koch

A so-far-unchanged budget cut to post-secondary education has WKU exploring all options to ensure a stable transition going into the new biennium, which begins in July.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s proposed state budget includes a 6.4 percent cut to all of post-secondary education, stripping WKU of about $5 million. The budget has passed the House and is currently in the Senate.

President Gary Ransdell said WKU is looking at increasing revenue while at the same time cutting costs.

“By the time we finish this up in May, it will be a combination of both,” Ransdell said. “We are beginning to determine what each division of the university will have to absorb.”

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, said WKU is optimistic that the budget will be implemented with minimal impact on students and instruction.

The university’s strategy, Mead said, is looking for ways to gain additional revenue, dealing with reductions in budgets across all departments and looking at how the reductions can be phased in using money carried forward from a previous year to ease the transition.

A department may only have to face half of the proposed reductions during the first year, Mead said. The other half would be covered by the carry-forward money. The full budget reduction would go into effect the second year.

Specific actions and strategies will be discussed and finalized within the next few weeks, Mead said.

“We just have to survive another two years,” Mead said.

Ransdell believes the budget can be put into place without having to cut jobs, though he said it’s still a possibility.

“I think we can find a way to avoid layoffs and furloughs,” he said. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we can do it.”