By Denise Dick
To address a $6.5 million deficit, Youngstown State University trustees authorized cost-cutting measures including reductions in expenses, voluntary furloughs and vacation-day reductions, layoffs, delaying technology purchases and energy savings.
About half of the deficit is due to a loss of revenue from the enrollment drop, said President Randy J. Dunn. The remainder is from a loss of state support and the need to fill vacancies that had gone unfilled for the last few years.
Dunn said the projected savings in each category will be announced later this week.
This fall marks the third-consecutive year of declining enrollment. Last year’s enrollment was 13,825 students, and this year, there are 13,395 — about a 3.1 percent drop. Each 1 percent equals about $1 million in revenue.
Trustees approved a resolution authorizing cost-cutting measures Wednesday.
The largest savings, however, will be in reductions in current and future operating expenses, he said.
The layoffs, if necessary, won’t be more than the equivalent of eight full-time employees from the Association of Classified Employees and Association of Professional and Administrative Staff unions, and one or two administrative- exempt employees. No faculty members are expected to be affected.
Trustee James Greene said at a Finance and Facilities Committee meeting that the reductions aren’t to be taken lightly.
“We’re changing lives here for a while,” he said. “The next couple of years are going to be tough.”
Dunn said that the last time the university asked for voluntary furloughs or vacations two years ago, it got a decent response, and he’s hoping for a similar response this time.
“This is not a forced situation,” he said.
University officials will review actual versus budgeted expenses regularly throughout the year to determine if the cost-saving measures have achieved what they hoped.
“If we’re not seeing what we need to see, we’ll have to look at it again,” Dunn said.