La Verne budget cuts dig deep
Posted May 16, 2008

The University of La Verne will be implementing budget cuts for the 2008-2009 fiscal year due to a recent decrease in enrollment and other factors affecting revenues.

An overall budget cut of $2.9 million will be implemented effective July 1. This cut will affect all areas of the University including academics, student life and maintenance.

Despite the cuts, faculty will receive a modest 2.5 percent raises, while other employees will also receive similar modest raises.

“The university has really tried to raise the level of compensation for faculty and staff,” Chief Human Resources Officer Frank Montalvo said. Though as a tuition-driven institution, the reality is that lower enrollment numbers translate into lower raises as well a less revenue for University programs.

Sixty percent of the cuts are coming from the capital fund and differed maintenance budget. This includes money needed to replace or fix equipment.

“We’re going to have to think twice about replacing a roof or not,” Associate Vice President and Treasurer Avo Kechichian said.

There will also be reductions in the “contingency fund,” which is used in unexpected events. It will decrease from $1.5 million to $1.2 million.

“We’ll have to carefully manage our expenditures next fiscal year,” Kechichian said.

The University will also be keeping certain positons “frozen.” Officials will review the vacant positions and determine whether they need to be filled.

Even if the positions are needed, some will be replaced by one-year or two-year temporary employees.

In order to function without the extra $2.9 million, other areas also will face cut backs. Two areas that Kechichian will be focusing most on for reductions are electricity and housekeeping services.

Housekeeping services in administration and staff offices will be reduced to three days a week instead of a daily service.

All housekeeping in classrooms will stay the same.

There will also be savings based on conservation, such as limiting the amount of electricity used. The thermostats will be required to meet the state temperature setting guidelines, with heating at 68 degrees and cooling at 78 degrees.

Motion detectors will also take the place of light bulb switches in some buildings. And officials will also be looking at different ways of landscaping to decrease the amount of water used on the grounds.

“It’s a matter of prioritizing of where to spend our money,” Montalvo said.

The most noticeable cuts will be from academic affairs; $500,000 will be cut through the Provost’s office and the three colleges.

“It’s a concern. We’re worried about it,” saod Fred Yaffe, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Yaffe said that Provost Alden Reimonenq asked the deans how much they can spare from their budget to meet the budget cut requirements. He identified $100,000 that he could cut from Arts and Sciences. He hopes most of the reductions will be extraneous expenses such as equipment that can be delayed, advertising and food for events, but he has not been notified about exactly how the college’s budget will be affected.

He may also need to factor employment into the equation by hiring adjunct faculty or reducing the amount of professors overloading.

“I don’t think that the cuts will be that significant,” Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration Gordon Badovick said. “The cuts in our department are fairly minimal. I think that it will mainly just delay the hiring of new faculty for our department.”

This may result in the loss of 40 sections of courses taught. This will be determined by the number of students enrolled in each class by when the fall semester starts. The reductions may not occur until the spring semester.

“It’s important to note that we are cutting the budget to give raises to employees,” Kechichian said.

The cuts to classes and faculty are not a certain deal. They are just preparing for the worst if it happens in case this needs to happen.

“Avo has always been good at finding the resources to fund the classes,” Yaffe said.

“If we make reductions, we’ll be very careful about how we apply that,” President Stephen Morgan said.

Morgan said the major cuts to student life will be in the Freshman Year Experience classes. Instead of making the classes mandatory, they will be optional if students choose to take the class.
Kechichian said the number of residents assistants will also be reduced from 24 to 23.

“We did not want to affect services to students and faculty,” Kechichian said.

As of now all current projects will continue including the Sara and Abraham Student Center and the new athletic facilities.

Sher Porter can be reached at

Jen McElroy can be reached at

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