YSU tackles $6M deficit

YOUNGSTOWN – Facing a $6.6 million deficit, Youngstown State University officials have drafted a comprehensive plan designed to cut expenses.

University officials, who announced the new budget-balancing plan on Thursday, explained that declines in enrollment over the past three years combined with consistent reductions in state funding called for cost-saving measures to be put into place immediately.

In a written statement, YSU President Randy J. Dunn said, ”These measures, while extensive, will allow us to balance our budget without impacting academic and student services.”

In the past two fiscal years YSU lost $16 million in revenue due to decreased enrollment and state allocations. This fiscal year, tuition/enrollment revenue and state funding are down an additional $4.2 million, officials said.

Ron Cole, YSU communications director, said administrators are meeting with union representatives to determine which employees will be furloughed and when.

“It’s a process that has to take place,” he explained, noting that Dunn is adamant about making the cuts necessary to close the budget gap.

Dunn said the plan was developed in a manner for minimal impact on academic programs, student services and personnel. He said layoffs in the plan are unfortunate and difficult, but necessary to structurally reduce expenses and maintain the fiscal health of YSU.

“We are a human capital enterprise and human resources are the most important ones we have,” he said. “I understand the personal financial difficulties that are felt by employees impacted by these actions. We have reached a critical crossroads. These actions, developed through an extensive, six-week contingency planning process, are necessary to balance the fiscal year 2014 budget and to begin to address the structural challenges we have in the university’s revenue-and-spending model.”

Cole said the university is also developing “pretty progressive marketing efforts” that will be implemented by the end of this year. He noted that traditionally YSU sees an enrollment drop from its fall to spring semesters each year – a trend the university is working to change.