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Budget Update III

Posted by | January 26, 2009

As I am certain you are aware, more important budget news that could have significant implications for WSU and CAHNRS in the next biennium came out of the Legislature in Olympia late last week. In the interest of communicating as clearly and consistently as possible about how CAHNRS will approach the budget challenges ahead, I provide the following update.

Just prior to the holidays, the Governor’s proposed budget required that WSU reduce its annual budget $31 million (or 12 percent). Last week, the Washington Senate requested that WSU prepare two budget reduction scenarios – one reflecting the 12 percent budget cut the Governor called for and another reflecting an 18 percent cut. It is critical to emphasize that this request is for a plan describing how such reductions would be taken and their impact on our instructional, research, and public service mission. The request is not a directive indicating that we will take such cuts in the 2009-11 biennium.

To prepare the University’s response to the Senate, the President and Provost have asked each college to prepare 12 percent and 20 percent budget reduction scenarios. These are daunting numbers and translate to $1.27 million and $2.13 million, respectively, for CAHNRS Academic programs, and $2.96 million and $4.93 million, respectively, for the Agricultural Research Center. For WSU Extension, the proposed reductions would total to as much as $3.45 million; we are working with Dean Linda Fox to incorporate CAHNRS Extension programs into Extension’s budget response to the Provost and President.

Based on those numbers, the CAHNRS administrative team is working to develop a response to the Provost and President. Department chairs and directors are providing input about their units’ response to alternative budget reduction scenarios. In addition, the newly formed CAHNRS Budget Advisory Council is providing input to the process. The associate deans and I will consolidate all input to form our college’s response to the directive.

Obviously, if a 12 to 20 percent reduction were actually implemented, it would have dire and long-term consequences on our ability to deliver on our current teaching, research, and extension missions. As noted in my previous budget message, we will avoid implementing across-the-board budget reductions; horizontal cuts of this magnitude would significantly weaken all programs. Budget reductions of this magnitude would require us to identify our most important priorities and what we can and cannot offer as we move into the future. Program reductions and eliminations would be inevitable. In making these decisions, we will draw heavily upon the CAHNRS strategic plan, the A2P2 process and outcomes, and available performance metrics.

As I am certain you understand, we are working toward a moving target. We will continue to communicate any new information as it is released. If you have suggestions about how we can address these budget challenges, please feel free to contact your department chair/director, one of the associate deans, or me. You also can share any ideas with members of the CAHNRS Budget Advisory Council, whose names are listed at the end of this memo. Finally, suggestions can be submitted to the President and Provost through the University Budget Advisory Committee Web page.

I appreciate your patience and cooperation as we work through these challenges.

CAHNRS Budget Advisory Council (BAC):

  • Daniel J.  Bernardo
  • John R. Anderson
  • Margaret E. Benson
  • Stephanie Brock
  • Jay F. Brunner
  • Ralph P. Cavalieri
  • Ryan A. Davis
  • Markus Flury
  • Laura Griner Hill
  • Don Holbrook
  • Pete W. Jacoby
  • Ron C. Mittelhammer
  • Francis Pierce
  • Barbara L. Smith
  • Russ Salvadalena