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Good Budget News! Yet Retrenchment Still Underway, Why?

April 01, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

Last Friday we heard the good news that PSU received $105 million dollars from the federal American Rescue Plan. This is on top of the previous federal infusions of $17 and $30 million dollars. This money is earmarked for student aid and the impacts of the pandemic on the University. We are hopeful that this money will allow PSU to weather this financial storm and provide much-needed time for the University to carefully reflect on PSU’s values and assess the longer-term impacts of the pandemic before making any permanent cuts.

In addition to these federal funds, state appropriations for higher education are expected to hold steady, and the state is forecasted to have a kicker credit of $571 million. Last week, the Joint Ways and Means Committee co-chairs released their budget framework for the 2021-23 biennium. Their goal is to boost the Public University Support Fund (PSUF) to 1 percent shy of the Current Service Level. In contrast to the governor’s proposed $836 million budget for public universities, the co-chairs are proposing an additional $49 million, moving us closer toward the $900 million we have requested.

These facts alone should give the administration room to immediately pause these harmful cuts. This money should be used to support programs that advance the University’s mission and preserve jobs for employees during this global pandemic and economic crisis. After all, that is what rescue relief is for! Administration is currently making decisions based on enrollment that has been greatly impacted by the pandemic and the former Trump Administration’s foreign study and immigration policies. The Biden Administration’s commitment to invest in state services, including public higher education, has given us reason to be optimistic. Nevertheless, Administration has ignored this lifeline and is proceeding with layoffs. Under Article 22 this is a violation of the intent of these relief funds. We are calling on Administration to use the relief money as intended and to put retrenchment and layoffs on hold until we see what is on the other side of this pandemic.

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