Register staff report
Eastern Kentucky University’s top leaders are asking their employees to help cut costs by 10 percent.
The $23 million in savings are needed, President Doug Whitlock said in a Friday afternoon message, because of declining income and to provide money for salary improvements and other strategic purposes.
Whitlock sent the message after he and new regents chair Craig Turner, along with other regents, met with the university’s academic and institutional support leadership earlier in the day.
The president and regents shared some of the board’s “financial goals and aspirational vision” with the campus leaders, Whitlock said.
“Our state support has diminished, and the prospects for a rebound of those dollars are dim,” he told the university community.
Also , enrollment declines the last two years have caused tuition income to fall short of projections.
“The obvious conclusion is that for us to advance the institution we must re-prioritize our existing resources and look to change our business model to generate other revenues,” the president said.
“I welcome the encouragement and expectation of the board and believe it will secure the institution’s ability to control its destiny and give my successor some badly needed flexibility to take advantage of opportunities,” he said.
How the goals will be achieved is being left for campus leaders to propose, according to Whitlock, who said he would be meeting soon with the university cabinet and the Strategic Planning and Finance Council to discuss strategies and process.
Although the board is not dictating how the savings should be achieved, it wants a plan in place when planning for the university’s 2013-14 budget begins, the president said.
“This does not mean all the resources need to be freed and set aside by then,” Whitlock said, “but a definitive plan must be in place that identifies from where the 10 percent will come.”
The task will not be easy, he said, but completing it will help lead the university to a better future.