I am following up on my February 8th message to the campus regarding the Governor’s budget proposal. As most of you probably know by now, Governor Corbett proposed a 20% reduction in Commonwealth funding for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for 2012-13. That reduction would result in a loss of approximately $9.5 million for West Chester University. However, it is important to remember that the Governor’s budget proposal is only the starting point in the budget process.
We currently are working with legislative leaders to help them understand the devastating consequences of the Governor’s proposal. To that end, I recently joined the Chancellor and other PASSHE leaders to testify before the Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee regarding the System’s strengths and the negative consequences of the Governor’s plan. We are optimistic that the House and Senate will be able to restore some of the funding that the Governor’s budget removes. At the same time, we understand that limited financial support from the Commonwealth has become the “new normal.”
In addition to the funding that ultimately will be approved by the legislature, there are other factors that will impact the University’s budget picture:
Divisional Vice Presidents will be asked to engage their areas in discussion of possible expenditure reduction and revenue enhancement strategies. Budget reduction plans developed last year will be utilized as the starting point for those discussions. In addition, a portion of the fiscal stabilization fund, which was set aside for just this type of situation, will be used to buy time to develop and implement measures to help offset the reduction in Commonwealth funding. However, even as we continue our commitment to preserve our core mission and advance the University, we must recognize that we will do so with less support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Greg R. Weisenstein