Education

Welty warns of more Fresno State cuts in fall

Fresno State President John Welty on Tuesday said he doesn't expect any more cuts in the spring semester that begins this week.

But the university will continue downsizing to fall 2000 levels as it copes with fallout from the state's lingering financial problems, Welty said in a speech to faculty and staff at the Satellite Student Union.

"With a smaller budget, we must reduce the number of students we serve and, correspondingly, the number of faculty and staff," he said.

Officials expect to shrink enrollment to about 19,000 students. Nearly 21,500 students attended in fall 2009; officials hope to cut another 2,000 students this fall.

Welty said the reductions are planned despite promises of a better budget next year for the California State University system.

The governor has proposed restoring $305 million to the CSU budget -- and spending $60.6 million for enrollment growth -- but that depends on federal funding.

Welty said Fresno State already enrolls more students than would be funded by new growth money. The state also faces a nearly $20 billion deficit. "As we plan for the fall, we cannot assume that the proposed dollars will be a reality."

A campus budget summit is scheduled Feb. 5. There, Welty said, he will outline a proposed spending plan for 2010-11 -- based on the governor's proposal -- and ask for comments and suggestions. A tentative campus budget should be issued in March.

By late March, officials should know whether layoffs may be necessary, Welty said. He does not expect employee furloughs to continue beyond June.

Welty said he was encouraged by the governor's proposal to permanently shift a greater share of the state's budget to higher education. State spending per CSU student has plunged from about $11,000 to $4,700 over the past decade, he said.

Student fees also have steadily increased.

This year, a $44.6 million funding gap prompted Fresno State to cut hundreds of class sections, eliminate some work for lecturers, chop more than 100 management and staff jobs and curb other spending. Federal stimulus money helped stave off $1.4 million in cuts for the spring, but the campus still trimmed some lecturers and classes.

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