Chancellor addresses budget lapse
As UW-Eau Claire faces up to $2.3 million in the first year of the biennium budget lapse, layoffs cannot be ruled out, said Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich in an email to UW-Eau Claire staff Wednesday.
The budget lapse, which acts as a kind of safety net and is built into the biennial budget the state legislature passed this summer, would cut $65.6 million from the System over the next two years. Eau Claire’s portion of the lapse is about $3.3 million, $2.3 million of which must be cut from the budget this year.
Salaries and benefits for staff make up 85 percent of the university’s expenditures, which means that cutbacks in this area will be unavoidable, Levin-Stankevich said in the email. Personnel vacancies will be closely reviewed to see if they need to be filled or if there is a more economical option available. He said the administration wants to avoid layoffs, but they can’t be ruled out.
Stephanie Turner, assistant professor of English and secretary of United Faculty of UWEC, said the union is doing what it can to prevent layoffs. They are supporting adjunct faculty and lecturers, who Turner said are able to be union members but are the ones more likely to be laid off.
Class sizes will increase, Levin-Stankevich said, and the administration will focus on keeping classes that are required for graduation and fulfilling general education requirements.
Levin-Stankevich approved covering up to 50 percent of the budget lapse from UW-Eau Claire central carryover funds. He said that while it is tempting to cover as much of the reductions as possible, doing so would deplete the funds which may be needed in the future for unforeseen emergencies.
By approving up to 50 percent, Levin-Stankevich expects college deans to formulate plans to find the necessary savings and revenue growths in their areas.