Arizona State University will merge departments and eliminate some colleges, resulting in 98 positions being cut, to address $5.4 million in budget cuts for next school year.
ASU may need to cut an additional $47.8 million if Proposition 100 — a three-year 1-cent increase in the state sales tax — fails at the ballot on May 18.
During a meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents over the weekend, the state’s three universities outlined plans to cut 2.75 percent of their budgets for next fiscal year, which begins in July. The board asked the universities to come up with the ideas in March, after all state employees were asked to take a 2.75 percent reduction.
Additional cuts — totaling $107 million for the three universities and the Regents office combined — may be needed if Prop 100 is defeated.
Arizona lawmakers, looking to address an expected revenue shortfall next fiscal year, made cuts to several departments — from education to health care to social services. The Legislature also put Prop 100 on the ballot in an effort to raise about $1 billion a year for three years. A majority of that money is slated to go to Arizona’s public education system, from kindergarten through the universities.
ASU, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona announced different ways to handle the known budget cuts for next year.
ASU’s changes include eliminating 98 full-time support staff and administrative jobs, including positions that are currently unfilled, said Virgil Renzulli, ASU vice president of public affairs. No faculty jobs are being eliminated under this plan.
“The university took particular care to assure that academic programs remained intact, that students were not impacted and that all faculty were retained,” Renzulli wrote in an e-mail.
The school also withdrew from its partnership with UA for a medical school in downtown Phoenix. UA will continue on that venture alone.
Last year, most of ASU’s 12,000 staff members took up to 15 days of furlough when the three universities had to cut $142 million. Next year, there are no across-the-board salary cuts or furloughs planned, Renzulli said.
The organization changes include merging the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education.
“Going forward the university will have one college devoted to teacher education,” Renzulli wrote.
No degrees will be changed by this, he said.
The university will also eliminate the Department of Kinesiology, the School of Health Management and the School of Design Innovation.
Students will still be able to major in kinesiology; health management and policy; and interior design, industrial design and visual design, he said.
“All students in academic programs will be able to finish their academic programs on their current campus,” he said.
If the sales-tax increase fails, ASU will have to cut an additional $47.8 million; the UA will have to cut an additional $41.5 million; NAU will have to cut an additional $16 million; and the Regents office would have to cut $2 million, Regents spokeswoman Jennifer Grentz said.
A cut of that magnitude is equivalent to eliminating 650 positions at ASU, according to a Regents press release. But no decision has been made to lay off 650 people, Renzulli wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune.
Reductions at ASU could come in the form of additional department restructuring, creating a cap in high-cost degree programs, eliminating or consolidating programs and degrees, as well as staffing cuts.
UA announced it may address additional cuts by creating a tuition surcharge. ASU implemented a tuition surcharge this current school year and will continue one next year.
NAU officials told the Regents they would look at reducing merit-based aid and increasing class size, among other ideas.
The Regents board is next scheduled to meet in June.