WSU budget proposal calls for $30.8 million in cuts, layoffs could drop from 71 to 57

UPDATE @ 11:53 a.m.

Wright State University may not end up cutting its swimming and diving teams.

The board today directed the athletic director to see if there’s a way to save the swimming and diving teams without increasing the funds budgeted for athletics in the current 2018 budget proposal.

Wright State did move ahead with the rest of its proposed budget though, enacting more than $30.8 million in cuts. The board approved eliminating 189 jobs, including laying off 57 employees.

This concludes live coverage of Wright State’s budget hearing. Please check back at DaytonDailyNews.com later today for a full story.

Reporters Max Filby and Josh Sweigart will be taking questions live on Facebook today around 2 p.m. Click here to watch the live Q&A on Wright State issues.

UPDATE @ 11:27 a.m.Concerns have popped up this morning during the Wright State budget hearing about whether proposed budget cuts will go far enough.

A WSU alumnus pressed the university’s CFO about why the university did not know how much money it could lose if athletes decided to leave the school.

Ulliman said he relied on the opinion of the athletic director who told him he thought the savings from eliminating the swim team would not be outweighed by athletes who could in turn leave the university.

"We did not, in my opinion, vet this well,” said Jeff Ulliman, Wright State’s CFO.

Earlier this morning, one trustee questioned the swimming and diving team savings while another trustee said the board needs to consider whether the budget cuts do enough.

Interim president Curtis McCray also confirmed he does not believe the cuts will save the school enough money.

UPDATE @ 10:57 a.m.

Wright State trustee Grace Ramos said that cutting the swim team to save $200,000 overall in athletics does not justify the cut. She said swimmers should have been given earlier notice.

Wright State’s CFO said scholarships for swimmers and divers will be continued even though the teams are being axed.

He said cutting the swimming and diving programs “could come back to bite us” depending on how many student athletes decide to leave the university.

Several Wright State swimmers and divers and alumni from the teams attended the meeting and stood up as an alumnus asked questions about why the program was being cut.

UPDATE @ 10:30 a.m.

Bruce Langos, a newly appointed trustee, cautioned that today’s proposed budget cuts may not be enough to ensure the university regains its financial footing. He warned that if trustees don’t go far enough that they could make more cuts months from now and that there’s a chance the governor could ask all the board members to step down.

Langos asked interim president Curtis McCray if he thought today’s budget cuts would be enough and McCray replied “no.”

Langos called on the board to use real-time financial data to adjust the budget from here on out.

“We have to address it in a manner in which all of us are acting together otherwise this is going to fail,” Langos said.

The 2018 budget presentation has concluded. The board will begin taking questions from the public before voting on the proposal.

“I understand there’s a ton of emotion in this room and its shared by your board of trustees,” said vice chairman Doug Fecher.

Fecher told the board and the room that many of Wright State’s programs need to be reviewed and possibly changed, including athletics.

The board has been criticized for increased budgeted funding for athletics by $1.6 million. Fecher has said athletics went over budget by so much in previous years that 2018’s proposed $1.6 million budget increase would result in a $200,000 decrease in actual spending.

While Fecher said he’s heard a lot about “how the board favors athletics over academics” he said that isn’t true.

UPDATE @ 10 a.m.

Ulliman said the university tried to minimize the impact of the $30.8 million in budget cuts.

”No effort was spared in trying to minimize the impact to faculty and staff and to the overall student experience,” Ulliman said.

But, Ulliman went on to list some of the changes budget cuts will have on the university. Some things will be changed and others will be eliminated altogether, he said.

Some of the things Ulliman mentioned are listed below:

- College/ division-level IT, marketing and administrative support

- Student worker positions/ hours

- Parents weekend

- Presidential Lecture Series

- Nursing site visits

- Department mergers

- Non-emergency maintenance 

Ulliman also told trustees that he anticipates student fee revenue will be down by around $9.5 million during FY 2018 because of an anticipated enrollment decrease. The university does not plan to use any of its reserve funding in 2018, he said.

UPDATE @ 9:41 a.m.

Jeff Ulliman, Wright State’s CFO is presenting the final fiscal year 2018 budget proposal.

Uliman talked about how Wright State’s tuition around $1,000 lower than the national average and the fourth lowest in the state.

While Ulliman’s 2018 budget proposal calls for cuts, he said that they can’t be the only thing to get WSU’s finances back on track.

“We can’t continue cutting our way to prosperity,” Ulliman said. “We need to increase enrollments.”

The state measures every public college’s fiscal health with something called a “Senate Bill 6 score,” an annual rating of 0 to 5. Any school that falls below a 1.75 two years in a row is put on notice.

Ulliman is projecting that WSU will fall from a 2.1 in FY 2016 to a 0.8 in FY 2017. He projects that number will increase to 1.4 in FY 2018, meaning the university is heading for state fiscal watch.

UPDATE @ 9:27 a.m.

Wright State University’s board of trustees have voted to eliminate “bumping rights” for non-union classified staff. The policy, which was approved with the support of five out of eight trustees, will go into effect immediately.

The policy change means that if a position is eliminated, non-union classified staff cannot bump someone with less seniority from another position.

The board also approved a limited waiver of attorney-client privilege to provide the Ohio Inspector General materials related to H-1B visa fraud that may have taken place at the university. The waiver was approved unanimously.

UPDATE @ 8:56 a.m.

Today’s budget cuts could put Wright State “on the road to recovery,” Doug Fecher, vice chairman of the WSU board said during opening remarks today.

Fecher called the budget proposal an “honest budget” and said that “past budgets have set unrealistic expectations.”

Fecher said that when he joined the board, trustees only received a financial update once a year but they now receive them monthly. The financial crisis the university is in is “truly unfortunate,” Fecher said.

“It’s time to put these issues behind us and repair this university for the students,” Fecher said.

The board will now consider a change to the university’s reduction in workforce policy for non-union classified staff. 

The change would eliminate a policy commonly referred to as “bumping rights” 

that allows non-union classified staff who are laid off to bump someone with less seniority from a job.

UPDATE @ 8:30 a.m.

Wright State University trustees are preparing to start their meeting this morning on the fiscal year 2018 budget.

Wright State’s budget proposal calls for a 3 percent tuition increase for out of state students and graduate students. Room and board costs will also increase by 3 percent, according to the proposal

The budget also anticipates a decline in enrollment and a 5 percent decrease in student credit hours from FY 2017.

UPDATE @ 7:41 a.m.

A full copy of Wright State University’s budget proposal released today shows the university will cut more than $30.8 million, or 15 percent of its expenditures in fiscal year 2018. 

The full budget plan calls for a reduction of 189 employees, slightly more than the 178 proposed last month.

While the proposal previously called for four faculty members to be laid off, today’s updated version calls for no faculty to be laid off. In total, the proposal calls for 57 people to be laid off, down from 71 layoffs proposed last month.

The workforce reduction will save the university more than $13.9 million, according to the plan. Trustees will be voting on the budget later this morning during an 8:30 a.m. public meeting. 

They are currently meeting in executive session. If approved, the budget plan will add around $6 million to reserve funds, $1 million more than the school’s initial goal.

FIRST REPORT

Wright State University leaders are scheduled to vote this morning on $30 million in budget cuts.

WATCH: Live coverage of the WSU vote 8:30 a.m. June 8 on WHIO.com

The cuts are expected impact funding for more than 20 university departments and is a move to correct a budget crisis caused by years of overspending.

RELATED: Wright State may lay off up to 120 people to save $8 million

RELATED: Interim WSU president lays out some plans for budget cuts

WSU is expected to lay off around 71 employees and eliminate 107 vacant positions. Laid off employees will be notified beginning next week, officials have said.

WATCH: Video shows mother’s temper tantrum following OVI arrest

The layoffs will include an estimated 24 classified staff members, 43 unclassified staff members and four faculty members. 

Another 14 currently filled full-time positions could have their hours reduced and the proposal does not include any salary increases for 2018.

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