With no end in sight for the budget impasse and possible funding cuts when a budget is passed, Western Illinois University is making more budget cuts. The changes will be implemented in the 2017 and 2018 Fiscal Years. They will include reducing contracts from 12 to 11 or 10 months for select administrative positions; closing and/or combining select offices/units; reducing 100 personnel (faculty and staff) across divisions; implementing a hiring freeze (effective immediately); and reducing the hours of various offices/units. “We are making decisions that will preserve the educational enterprise,” President Thomas said in a press release sent out Friday. So far for Fiscal Year 2016, WIU has made $5 million in appropriated budget reductions. With payroll being difficult to meet for July and August, the University will cut an additional $4 million by June 30. As part of the reductions for the Fiscal Year 2016, spending for the University will be limited to essential needs only with also travel being restricted. In addition, mandatory furloughs will be implemented for all non-negotiated personnel (both administrative/non-academic and civil service personnel not covered by unions) beginning April 1. “Because there is not a present path toward ending the budget impasse, we must move forward with plans to put furloughs into place for non-negotiated personnel. Additionally, we have upcoming contractual salary increases scheduled with collective bargaining units, and thus, we must move forward with further FY’17 reductions to protect our ability to implement these increases,” Thomas said. “We must brace for the difficult times ahead. We must protect the cash resources of the University in order to continue to provide services to our students and prepare for Fall 2016.” President Thomas also went on to say that “Without these reductions, we risk jeopardizing the entire enterprise. Furloughs and reductions in personnel and programs are necessary to protect the overall University and this community. We are committed to protecting as many jobs as possible. We will continue to do what is best for this institution to ensure a strong and viable University that exists to serve students and its host communities for decades to come. Our hope is our governmental leaders will end this unprecedented impasse and recognize that our public universities need our state funds to operate and continue to support our students.”
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