President accepts budget proposal

After months of controversy surrounding reductions in budgets across the board at Portland State, an adjusted university budget-reduction proposal was sent to President Daniel Bernstine April 21, who accepted it as published.

Three budgets were adjusted, each by less than $100,000, after administrators opened up an original budget-reduction and reinvestment proposal to discussion at two open campus meetings and presented the proposal to the faculty senate in mid-April. The three departments that were affected were the College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Fine and Performing Arts.

The budget proposal reduces the university budget by $3 million and allows $1.2 million in reinvestments, totaling $4.2 million in cuts from 22 administrative and academic sections of the university. Administrators say reinvestments allow the university to redistribute money to the departments with the most need.

The original budget recommendation was based on 6 percent reductions across the board that the administration asked each department to make. While some departments received nearly $400,000 in cuts, other departments received a similar-sized reinvestment.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences received both a budget reduction and reinvestment in the original proposal, with a $306,500 cut and a $380,000 reinvestment. The changes to the budget did not alter the amount cut from the college, but reduced the reinvestment by $20,000, to $360,000.

The School of Fine and Performing Arts also received both budget reductions and reinvestments in the original proposal, losing $257,400 in “open faculty positions,” and gaining $60,000 for an entry-level salary position to contribute to the University Studies program. The program received an additional $20,000 in reinvestments to pay for the position and part of a second position.

The Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science received an additional $100,000 in cuts, raising the total from $278,000 to $378,000. Budget Director Michael Fung said the raise in cuts was due to a centralization of technology personnel to the Office of Information Technologies.

The College of Engineering maintained its own technology personnel and this reduction would cause the college to use OIT personnel instead of its own. In the original proposal, the surplus $100,000 was listed as a general centralization into OIT across campus, but was then shifted to the College of Engineering.

“There are some departments on campus that maintain their own technology personnel,” Fung said. “Consolidating part of that is moving personnel from different units into centralized management.”

Fung said the budget as it stands is not finalized and will not be ready until late summer or early fall.