IPFW Faculty Suggests Dipping into Reserve Fund to Balance Budget

By Stephanie Parkinson

March 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 5:52 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – IPFW’s faculty is weighing in on the university’s troubled budget. IPFW’s Faculty Senate met Wednesday and approved a resolution, by 19-11, that proposes dipping into the school's reserve fund in order to balance the university's $8.4 million deficit.

IPFW has about $18 to $20 million in reserve. That's about 9-10 percent of the school's $200 million budget. Vice Chancellor for Financial Affairs, Walt Branson, says they should have at least eight percent set aside in case of emergency.

The members of the Faculty Senate who approve of the resolution believe more time needs to be put in before cutting back.

"These cuts are utterly devastating and because of the unstrategic nature, as you heard said again again, admitting the fact that these are unstrategic cuts," said Ann Livschiz, Associate Professor, IPFW History Department.

But the administration is reluctant to use one-time funds and instead wants to continue to trim back now.

"It is very painful. It is very difficult to do. There are always going to be those who disagree with the decisions you make and disagree with the choices you make. We have made every effort to maintain the core of our mission, which is delivering academic programs and serving our students," said Vicky Carwein, chancellor, IPFW.

A drop in enrollment, expenses that were never budgeted and a drop in state funding all contributed to putting IPFW in the red. More than a dozen employees have been laid off from the university. No further layoffs are expected but every department is being asked to cut back significantly on spending. Many vacancies also won’t be filled.

Livschiz is the Faculty Senate member who put forth the resolution that passed Wednesday. She believes strongly that using reserve funds and taking more time to review the budget is in the school’s best interest.

"Certainly it doesn't mean that there are not necessarily going to be positions and areas where savings can be made but I think in order to be able to do that you really need to be able to put in the time to discover that," said Livschiz.

The administration takes suggestions from IPFW’s Faculty Senate but the group doesn’t have the ability to make formal changes.

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