WSU votes to cut nearly $31M from budget

Wright State University. (WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)
Wright State University. (WDTN Photo/Justin Kraus)

FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) — After exceeding last year’s budget by millions of dollars, Wright State’s Board of Trustees voted to cut $30.8 million from its budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

“I don’t want anybody to pay for this, but we’re past that point,” said WSU Board of Trustees Chair Doug Fecher.

About 200 people packed the Apollo Room of Wright State’s Student Union Thursday as the board voted to get the school out of the red.

“To our students — many of whom are with us today — we owe you nothing less than a fulfilling and life-changing educational experience,” stated Fecher.

“There are many things on life-support at the university,” admitted WSU Trustee Bruce Langos.

Under the directive, 57 jobs will be cut as opposed to the original 71 in the proposal. Another 119 currently vacant positions will be eliminated.

Administrative support, student worker positions and hours, stipends, overtime, travel, outside advertising, and foreign language classes like Japanese, Italian, and Russian, are slashed under the new budget.

While the swim and dive teams were also on the chopping block, with passionate pushes from alumni and parents, a last minute motion spared the teams for the next three weeks.

“It is shameful for these students to sit here and see that you did not vet your budget,” stated one swim parent.

Another swim parent pleaded, “Please leave the kids alone.”

“It seems continually we are cutting the low-hanging fruit,” said a current WSU student.

Rafael Candido, a former member of the swim team and a 2006 & 2007 graduate of Wright State, spoke before the board. He said with the amount of support they have, their message to the trustees was loud and clear.

“It’s not over yet. Far from over. We still have a lot of work to do,” said Candido.

The elimination of the teams would only save the university about $200,000.

The Board voted to direct the President to work with the Athletic Director to determine if the school can save the swim and dive teams while staying within the $11.6 million athletics budget.

Although trustees voted to cut nearly $31 million from the budget, WSU interim president Dr. Curtis McCray said he didn’t believe that was enough and cuts should be closer to $40 million, calling it a “tough year ahead.”

“I think we made our own problems,” stated Dr. McCray.

With a surplus of about $6 million, the new budget works to restore the university’s reserves to at least $31 million. Student fees and room and board rates will increase, and Wright State employees will not receive a pay raise. Despite the millions in reductions, trustees said the school will still likely be under fiscal watch by the third quarter in 2019.

There is a June 30 deadline to create a plan to save the swim and dive teams.

To read about the entire budget plan for the 2018 fiscal year, click here.

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