State universities to face position cuts

By Chloe Green – 

The projected $25 billion budget shortfall in Texas is  expected to mean more cuts in higher education, and officials at Tarleton are making contingency plans for possible layoffs.

Dr. Dottavio sent an email on November 11 to students which said the state reduced appropriation an additional $1.55 million.

Later, in 2012 and 2013, this cut “will require more than savings strategies and will necessitate that we make actual cuts in our budget, while still protecting the core educational mission of the University. Though loss of positions is a possibility we may have to confront, it is one we are trying diligently through enrollment growth and other cost-cutting measures to avoid.”

Dottavio continued, “We were able to offset most of the FY 2011 budget reduction by our increased enrollment, 90 day position delays, energy conservation efforts and other cost saving actions.  We are hopeful that this strategy will hold true for the remainder of FY 2011.”

Some of these reductions for 2011 include reducing cell phone reimbursements, reducing printing costs, reviewing course fees, consolidating the evening use of buildings, additional donors for W.K. Gordon Center and KTRL radio station, and engaging Granbury city community leaders for Langdon Center funding.

In a recent email to several faculty members, Tarleton Provost Gary Peer said he has been contacted by several anxious faculty members.

Tarleton Director of Human Resources Angie Brown said the impact of the budget cuts won’t be known until the legislative session, which begins in January is well underway.

“We have no plans at this time to cut positions,” Brown said. “In fact, several of the academic departments are hiring again.”

Of the projected $25 billion dollar shortfall, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimate that $73 million may have to be cut from higher education

Peer, however, said university officials are always looking for areas to minimize expense and should the state budget continue to “deteriorate,” “it is possible that position cuts could become necessary.”

If position cuts are demanded, the Stephenville campus will not be the only university affected in the state. Any legislatively required budget cuts will be necessary from high education agencies state-wide.

Peer also said there are certain guidelines Tarleton will follow if they are required to cut positions. The guidelines were established earlier this year “with the Academic Council, Deans Council and others,” Peer said.

The first positions to encounter job cuts are those “not involved in the direct delivery of instruction,” he said.

If necessary, Peer said the university would then move to “instructional positions in non-tenure track appointments.” Third and fourth level cuts would be probationary faculty and then tenured positions.

College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Dean A. Minix, said it is far too early to determine what cuts might be needed.

“I cannot address how the University would respond to such hypothetical cuts in our budget or the process thereof, only the President can address such ‘global’ issues given his perspective,” Minix said.

In his email, Peer said, “it will likely be another 90-120 days before the University has a better sense of such a possibility.”

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