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Governor's budget plan has College reducing costs by $3 million

Governor Timothy M. Kaine released a plan Monday to reduce state spending by about $300 million across the Commonwealth—including $3 million at William and Mary—in an effort to make up a $641 million revenue shortfall this biennium. Gov. Kaine outlines a plan for budget reductions. Courtesy the governor's office.

The $3 million in cuts at the College amounts to a reduction in state support of 6.25 percent for the current year, William and Mary President Gene R. Nichol said in an e-mail Monday night to faculty, staff and students. The amount is lower than Kaine’s initial proposal, which in August called for the College’s budget to be reduced by 7.5 percent.

“While our target continues to move in a congenial direction—it has now fallen one and a quarter percent from the initially discussed 7.5 percent—it is not the much smaller and less painful request for which we’ve hoped,” Nichol said.

Nichol added, “There is no doubt that a three-million-dollar cut will hurt. We will carefully examine new hiring and other significant expenditures; however, we can say with confidence that layoffs will not be part of our response.”

Last month, the College submitted a tentative reduction plan for 7.5 percent, or $3.6 million. College officials will now begin to revise that plan for the lower target of 6.25 percent, said Sam Jones, vice president for finance. While that review process is under way, Jones said, the College would continue a soft hiring freeze. Jones added that it is unclear at this time if the current reductions will become permanent cuts to the College’s base budget for the 2008-10 biennium. If that is the case, he said, the College will address that in its budget recommendations to the Board of Visitors this spring.

Nichol said the College’s response to the current cuts would continue on two fronts:

“First, my colleagues and I will strenuously make the case for supporting higher education—especially as the governor plans his budget for the next biennium and as we move toward the 2008 General Assembly session,” Nichol wrote in his campus message. “And second, we will consult with the vice presidents, deans, and the Faculty University Priorities Committee to make cuts that least affect our core academic mission.”