Wright State University students protested on Friday, April 7, 2017, during a board of trustees meeting. Students held signs that read “Cut Administration Not Education.” Another protest is planned for the May 19 finance committee meeting. JOSH SWEIGART / STAFF

Expected Wright State layoffs could be smaller due to open positions

A large amount of open positions at Wright State University may help employees keep their jobs when cuts are announced Friday.

Layoff details and budget cuts are expected to be made public during a board of trustees finance committee as the school tries to regain its financial footing after years of budget problems.

RELATED: WSU will help its laid off employees find a new jobs

The school has said it could layoff between 80 and 120 employees to save $6 million to $8 million. But, the number of layoffs may now be on the lower end, a WSU trustee said.

“I think we’ll have a pretty good idea of how many jobs will be eliminated,” said Doug Fecher, finance committee chairman of WSU’s board of trustees. “My expectation is it’s going to be closer to the lower number.”

Wright State University Budget: 5 things to know

A lower number of layoffs may be due in part to a large number of vacant positions, Fecher said. Officials have said 30 to 50 empty positions could go unfilled to save an additional $3 million to $5 million.

Several layoffs are expected to be made on the school’s staff side while a much smaller number will come from the faculty, officials have said.

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A majority of layoffs, Fecher said, could come straight from University Hall, where the president’s office is located along with other top administrators. Interim president Curtis McCray has said between 12 and 20 administrator jobs could be cut by the end of the budget remediation.

The board will vote on a final budget plan on June 8 and employees being laid off will receive notice beginning the week of June 12. Wright State must slash $25 million from its fiscal year 2018 budget while boosting reserves by $5 million.

Wright State announced on Wednesday that it will try to help laid off employees find new jobs. The university will host a career expo, offer counselling and training workshops.

WSU will also offer some form of tuition remission for laid off employees and their immediate dependents for up to two years.

RELATED: More than 700 students sign letter of intent at Wright State

Over the past few months, Wright State has retooled some of its policies that will kick in as layoffs begin in mid-June. In March the university announced it would cut maximum notice from one year down to 24 weeks for unclassified staff being laid off.

Last week, WSU announced it may eliminate a policy that allows non-union classified staff who are laid off to bump someone with less seniority from a job.

Staff members are planning to protest at Friday’s committee meeting, something Fecher said he expected. The board likely won’t make a decision on the proposal until June though, he said.

“I don’t know that it’s a slam dunk” Fecher said of the proposal. “I think there are board members on both sides of the issue.”

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