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April 22, 2011

Plattsburgh State cuts programs

Canadian studies, geography victims of university cuts

PLATTSBURGH — The Canadian studies and geography majors are gone at Plattsburgh State.

Both bachelor-degree programs are victims of budget cuts as the university struggles with a $4.3-million deficit that is only getting bigger. As a result, its leaders are turning to using temporary cash reserves, tightening budgets, cutting positions and more to contend with escalating costs and shrinking revenues.

"Each division of the college has implemented reductions, and we have made a concerted effort to minimize the impact on students and classroom instruction," said Plattsburgh State President Dr. John Ettling in an email to the campus community.

FUNDING SLASHED

The State Legislature's 2011-12 budget cut the State University of New York's campuses and hospitals by $170.1 million. It appears that Plattsburgh State will lose anywhere from $1 million to $2.3 million.

That is in addition to the university's current $4.3 million deficit, which was accumulated over the last three fiscal years.

Plattsburgh State has identified $3.9 million in budget cuts — $3.4 million of which are permanent — for this fiscal year in order to deal with the deficit.

"Our employee base is smaller today than it was in 2008 because of the various measures that have been implemented, including the statewide early retirement incentive last year, our campus-based voluntary separation programs, leaves, work reductions, program changes and other personnel actions," Ettling said. "This has allowed us to address the budget deficit without invoking retrenchment."

NO NEW MAJORS

Academic Affairs has 19.58 fewer positions and decreased its budget by 2.8 percent, while Business Affairs, Student Affairs, Institutional Advancement and the President's Office have cut 40.12 full-time employees and cut 5.8 percent from their budgets. Since July 1, 2010, the university has identified nearly $3 million in salary reductions.

"The absolute biggest cuts have been personnel," said John Homburger, vice president of business affairs.

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