Apr 302009
Authors: Bryan Shiele

CSU will turn over its first draft of next year’s budget to the campus today, communicating “really small” job losses by category, university administrators said this week.

In an e-mail to the Collegian, interim CSU President Tony Frank said the university’s plan is “to keep cuts in the low, single-digit range,” laying off few employees and instead dealing with state budget reductions through personnel attrition, or the act of keeping vacant positions unfilled.

He said he anticipates that 99 percent of university employees will not be affected by the cuts.

Just weeks ago, state universities were faced with the possibility of a $300 million cut to state higher education – triple the amount Gov. Bill Ritter advised in January – which would have chopped the $130 million CSU currently receives from the state in half, Frank said.

After receiving word of the Joint Budget Committee’s recommendations, though, Ritter drafted a plan that would instead cut $150 million from higher education, to be backfilled annually for three years using the federal stimulus money the state is set to receive if it maintains its commitment to funding universities.

“The cut for CSU under that system will be about $30 million, with three years of $30 million federal backfill,” Frank said in the e-mail.

Frank said this number is the largest hit that higher education can take under the federal maintenance of effort guidelines included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which dictates whether Colorado will receive national dollars for education.

Earlier this year, Frank and Rick Miranda, CSU interim provost, asked departments to plan for cuts ranging from 2 to 8 percent, and the budget presented to campus today will utilize the lowest cut level, 2 percent.

Frank said the reductions will be “spread thinly across the university.”

“We are not looking at any cuts in tenured or tenure-track faculty, and tentatively we’ll not be losing/significant numbers of open tenure-track faculty positions,/as this is one of the most important areas of the university,” he said.

He noted that “less than 10” full-time-equivalent adjunct positions will be affected. “(CSU has) been relying more and more on non-tenured track faculty,” Miranda said. “The goal is to retain as much instructional capacity as we can.”

Miranda said the university isn’t sure about the exact number of non-tenured track faculty affected, “but it will be hopefully rather modest.”

Frank said this is “in accord with (the university’s) position that adjuncts play a very important role in the delivery of our educational programs.”

“We are trying to make plans that will limit personnel impact,” he said.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Bryan Schiele can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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