News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Up to 140 Positions Facing Elimination as WKU Grapples With Huge Budget Hole
WKU Public Affairs, via WKYU

Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni has emailed WKU employees the recommendationsmade by the school's budget council on how to handle a major budget shortfall, reduced state support for higher education, and increased pension obligations.

The council is recommending the elimination of University College, which offers "flexible programs that respond to individual needs, including those of non-traditional students." As of July 1, the academic programs in University College will go to other colleges across the institution.

Management of WKU's three regional campuses would be returned to the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach.

Nearly $16 million would be cut from the budgets of WKU's various divisions, including academic departments, athletics, and facilities.

In an email to employees after the release of the recommendations, Caboni said he "accepted either some portion of - or forwarded to the strategic planning committee for inclusion in their work - 32 of the 35 individual recommendations. The remaining recommendations will require further examination, so I will take those under advisement."
Caboni also addressed job losses on campus.

"Out of more than 2,000 budgeted positions on campus, we will eliminate 40 vacant positions created through attrition. An additional 90 to 100 filled positions will be eliminated to meet the targeted budget reductions," he said in the email to school employees.

"University administrators will make those decisions during the next few days, and employees whose positions are eliminated will be notified in person by mid-March. I know that this already has caused significant concern throughout our campus community, but we simply must give managers the time to make appropriate decisions."

The WKU President said while he knows the situation is painful, it's also "only the first phase."

"As I have described on multiple occasions, this first $15 million is largely a result of enrollment shifts during the past 4 years," Caboni said in his email. "The next challenge for us will come in April when we know the results of the state budget, which is likely to include a significant reduction in our state appropriation and a substantial increase in our employer contributions to the state pension systems. We also will have a better sense in April of what our fixed cost increases will be; and, to be realistic, we will plan for another year of enrollment decline."

WKU is currently facing a $15 million budget shortfall, along with an increased pension obligation of nearly $9 million, and $4 million in looming funding cuts based on Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed reduction in state support for higher education.

© 2018 WKU Public Radio

Related Content