Itemizer-Observer

MONMOUTH — Western Oregon University eliminated 18 positions — 11 layoffs/non-renewals and seven positions not being filled or will not continue after June 30, 2020.

“(WOU) has had to make difficult decisions in order to address a significant budget deficit,” Rex Fuller, president, said in a statement. “The primary drivers of the deficit are shortfalls in state funding, higher salaries, increased PERS expenses and depressed tuition and fee income due to unexpected enrollment declines.”

Other measures they have taken this year to address the shortfall include reducing department services and supplies budgets by 5 percent to upwards of 10 percent, he said.

Services and supplies only account for about 15 percent of WOU’s budget, the remaining being personnel, he said.

In addition to the 18 eliminated positions, salaries for all unclassified positions will be frozen for fiscal year 2020-21.

“Unclassified employees in senior-level administrative positions will have reduced FTE, contributing a work week of total compensation,” Fuller said. “This is an effort to meet WOU’s Board of Trustees directive to narrow the current deficit and prepare a budget for fiscal year 2020-21.”

Additional cuts are not planned at this time, he said.

“As we move forward, just as the rest of the country, we will continue to evaluate the situation and its impact on our financial position,” Fuller said.

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