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Budget Update – Big Ideas

Posted by | November 12, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

Chairs and directors within CAHNRS and WSU Extension are in the throes of developing plans to address the two budget reductions I described in my last message to you. We are building 10 percent and 8 percent plans, as requested by the president and provost, to help address a permanent 6.3 percent cut and a one-time 6.1 percent budget reduction.

Please know that every area of CAHNRS is participating in this budget reduction planning. Academic Programs’ target for the 10 percent plan is $1.01 million and for the 8 percent plan is $808,400. The ARC is developing plans for 10 and 8 percent targets of $2.24 million and $1.8 million respectively. WSU Extension is developing a 10 percent plan for $1.2 million and an 8 percent plan of $974,259.  Cumulatively, CAHNRS and Extension will submit a 10 percent plan of $4.47 million and an 8 percent plan of $3.58 million to the Provost on November 15.

The unit-level plans referenced above will comprise a portion of the overall plan submitted to the Provost. Each unit’s percentage contribution to the college-wide plan will not be equal; productivity and strategic priority will influence each unit’s contribution.

We will not be sharing the details of our 10 and 8 percent plans. Until final decisions are made about what really is being cut, there are no advantages and many disadvantages to making those plans public. However, once final decisions are made, I am committed to sharing as much detail as is responsible to share as soon as possible.

Two questions recently came up that might be of interest to the CAHNRS/Extension community:

1. If state funding only constitutes a small share of the university’s overall budget and we need to cut 10-20 percent of the state budget, then what’s the big deal?

State funding constitutes 22 percent of WSU’s overall budget, but it constitutes a much larger share in CAHNRS and other academic units across the university. And, remember, the 22 percent invested by the state is the bedrock from which we leverage the funds that make up the other 78 percent of the budget. The state pays for the salaries of staff and faculty, who are critical to competing for external grant and contract dollars as well as to teaching students – the other major revenue source for the institution.  Without those state dollars, our ability to attract the other funds that constitute our overall budget is dangerously compromised.

2. What is the relationship between the “Big Ideas” rollout event announced for December 2 and budget reduction planning?

They have absolutely no connection.  The Dec. 2 event is the formal announcement of WSU’s new fund raising initiative: “The Campaign for Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas.”  In last week’s budget announcement, I mentioned the Provost’s request for colleges to submit, as he refers to them, “big ideas” that constitute reorganization proposals to address our fiscal situation. Too many big ideas.  Apologies for any confusion.

Thank you for your patience and participation in this painful process.
Dan Bernardo