In WSU’s fast changing budget crisis, clearer details could come today

Administrators work at University Hall at Wright State University. LYNN HULSEY/STAFF

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Administrators work at University Hall at Wright State University. LYNN HULSEY/STAFF

Most faculty and staff at Wright State University aren’t sure what to expect today when the school’s leaders consider some of the largest job and operational cuts in the university’s history, a faculty leader said.

Layoff and budget cut details will be made public this morning at a WSU board of trustees finance committee meeting. While the number of layoffs and the departments they’ll come from could be announced, Martin Kich, WSU’s faculty union president, said he is unsure of what else may happen.

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“We’re not expecting large swaths of faculty cuts but honestly we don’t really know what to expect,” Kich said.

Most of the layoffs at Wright State will likely come from the administration and staff operations, administrators and trustees have said.

But, details have changed rapidly, Kich said, noting changes in when layoffs notices would go out and how many people were going to be laid off.

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Wright State University Budget: 5 things to know

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Last week, WSU’s interim president said layoff notices would go out around May 19 but days later he said they wouldn’t go out until the week of June 12. WSU at first was considering laying off up to 120 employees but that number may have shrunk as well due to a large number of vacant positions.

Either way, most of the layoffs will likely come from University Hall, the offices of the president and other high-ranking officials are located on campus, said Doug Fecher, trustee and chairman of the finance committee.

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Layoffs and budget cuts will be voted on during a June 8 board meeting.

Wright State must slash $25 million from its fiscal year 2018 budget while boosting reserves by $5 million in order to balance the books. University officials have said they could lay off anywhere between 80 and 120 employees to save $6 million to $8 million.

The school’s budget crisis is the result of years of overspending that was never fully corrected. Now, Fecher and other trustees have said it must be corrected all at once.

“We kind of have no choice but to identify $30 million in savings,” Fecher said on Wednesday. “We’re just working our way through it. We just have to.”

Wright State has implemented some minor operational changes already, such as banning overnight employee travel, catering and cell phone reimbursements. School officials have said they could trim $7 million to $10 million in operational costs, some of which could be identified Friday.

Another way WSU is looking to save money is by asking the Boonshoft School of Medicine and Lake Campus to give a combined $4 million back to the main university.

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Draining the Lake Campus funds could be a mistake, Kich said, since it’s often talked about as one of the few growing parts of Wright State. At the Lake Campus, nearly 85 miles north in Celina, Kich said most don’t even realize the intensity of the turmoil the school is facing.

“They are kind of removed from the chaos of the Dayton campus,” Kich said. “I try to explain to them that it’s kind of like the house is coming down on people.”

Continuing coverage

The Dayton Daily News is your best source for information on an ongoing budget crisis at Wright State University. For coverage of today’s announcements, follow our higher education reporter on Twitter at @MaxFilby.

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