Western Kentucky University is asking its academic colleges to manage another round of budget reductions during the upcoming fiscal year.
The school’s Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday in favor of a new budget totaling $387,762,000, a 0.2% decrease from the current fiscal year budget.
The spending plan contains $8.6 million in reductions for the school's budget units. WKU’s five academic colleges will have to identify $3.4 million in cuts over the course of the fiscal year.
President Timothy Caboni said he didn’t want to ask academic leaders to make quick decisions on what to cut by July 1. So, he said, colleges will be able to plan reductions throughout the course of fiscal year.
“We’re going to take time to think about cost avoidance, cost savings, perhaps position vacancies, and many strategic opportunities that are presented to academic leaders during the course of an academic year. Instead of making all of those decisions now, we’re going to be smart and spread them out of the course of a year.”
Caboni said the university will be in touch with college leaders to manage the reductions.
“Each month you’ll have someone from the budget office working with leadership to say, ‘this was your expenditure rate last year, how are you less than that expenditure rate this year?’. So that way you’re on a glide path to hit that target by the end of the year.”
An increase in pension obligations for regional universities like WKU is set to go into effect July 1. Caboni said WKU began planning a year-and-a-half-ago for the increase, with no negative impact on the upcoming budget.
Governor Bevin’s chief of staff said this week that there’s enough support among lawmakers to pass a pension relief bill, but a special session to approve such a measure likely wouldn’t happen until next month.