Feb 052009
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Despite statements from Interim CSU President Tony Frank that cuts to next year’s university budget “look deeper” than those of this fiscal year, system officials said Thursday that CSU will take a smaller hit than anticipated.

Rich Schweigert, chief financial officer of the system, said next year’s budget reduction for CSU totals about $5 million – less than this year’s $7.5 million – and that figure has likely “greatly decreased” the possibility of further layoffs within the system.

“We’re grateful for the fact that the cuts are not as bad as they could have been,” said Schweigert, who, upon hearing Gov. Bill Ritter’s recommendation that $100 million be cut from state higher education funds last week, said tuition increases would be likely.

After receiving word that cuts to next year’s budget were smaller than anticipated, Schweigert said the system was months away from determining what future student costs will look like.

“As far as what we’re going to do with tuition . we haven’t gotten around to that,” he said.

Frank said last week that until Colorado stakeholders solve the problem of how best to fund various public services, charges to students will likely be one of the only options should the state contribute less to education funding.

Final financial estimates for next year depend on the state Joint Budget Committee’s review of Ritter’s proposed cuts. CSU spokesperson Michele McKinney reiterated that “nothing’s been written in any bills,” as March revenue forecasts will ultimately guide the decisions the JBC will make in drafting the Long Bill.

Head CSU spokesperson Brad Bohlander said Frank will continue to look to department heads to determine how best to absorb the impending cuts.

“We’re waiting to get more specific information from the state,” Bohlander said. “We’ve still got quite a ways to go before we know exactly what will happen.”

Frank said last week that salary reductions rather than position eliminations would be considered first.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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