What will be cut at WSU Tri-Cities remains a mystery nearly four months after the cuts were announced.
And people will need to wait another three months before finding out what is included in the $500,000 list.
Officials released what their priorities will be, and the process they plan to use.
The entire university is in the middle of a project to cut $30 million from the budget by the end of the next three years. President Kirk Schulz called for each department to cut 2.5 percent each year for three years.
He set the goal after years of expansion chewed into the university’s reserves, he said.
Since the initial announcement, the Richland campus clamped down on hiring, trimmed travel and avoided salary increases, but those likely won’t be the only cuts made this year.
Tri-City campus officials provided the public with a list of what won’t be cut from the $20 million budget — grant-funded projects and student accounts.
It also established the order of the remaining cuts — first administration, then student affairs, research and academic affairs.
Academics makes up more than half of the budget, with administration and finance making up about a third.
“The prioritization of cuts is intended to have the last impact on the academic programming of the campus — which is the core mission of the university,” said WSU Tri-Cities spokesman Jeff Dennison. “We would only reduce a class or teacher position when student enrollment demand does not support the ongoing need.”
Administrators did not know how much each of those functions would have to be cut.
We have started with our process to evaluate every function at the Tri-Cities campus.
WSU Tri-Cities spokesman Jeff Dennison
Incoming Chancellor Sandra Haynes and several other senior officials plan to make targeted cuts rather than make sweeping slashes. Haynes starts in March.
“We have started with our process to evaluate every function at the Tri-Cities campus,” Dennison said. “For example several functions in the finance and administration area have been streamlined and optimized, allowing us to absorb staff attrition.”
While administrators plan to trim the budget after March, the cuts aren’t going to affect classes this semester.
The bulk of this year’s cuts is likely going to be made along with next school year’s $487,000 cut, Dennison said. The current school year is too far along to make all of the $500,000 cuts.