Board of Trustees talks budget during annual retreat

Eric Rosane, Staff Reporter

The CWU Board of Trustees (BOT) gathered on July 19 in Quincy, WA to discuss a variety of budgeting and operating decisions that would affect the institution for the next two and six year budgeting cycles.

The event,  hosted at the Cave B Winery along the Columbia River gorge, played out similar to a social gathering of large community players who discussed the big ticket issues of CWU sustainability and operations. Topics included the shift from a state funded institution to a more self-sustained and self-governed collegiate institution.

Every year the CWU BOT has a retreat hosted off-campus in an attempt to foster conversation and reform over subjects that are pertinent to the college’s sustainability. Difficult issues, such as budget cuts and finances, are no foreign conversation when it comes to the board during these retreats. Prioritizing prominent expenses, such as maintenance of buildings on campus and how they pay for these services, were also greatly debated during the retreat..

The board has also been looking into different funding options for certain departments. Responsibility Center Management is a concept that allows for departments to make crucial budgeting decisions, instead of the president, when it comes to activity based budgets. This would allow the departments to allocate funds to programs that might potentially see an increase in enrollment or programs that need it most.

These are huge shifts in budgeting, especially since CWU receives around 29 percent of their total budget and roughly half of their operating costs from the state, according to Vice President of Public Affairs and Secretary to the Board of Trustees Linda Schactler.

“If we always budget towards what the state gives us, that’s just a death spiral. So we have to set our own goals and figure out how to get better results,” Schactler said, “otherwise we are not going to continue to sustain the quality of education that we have here and the educational experience that we have here.”

Coming into her third retreat, Yakima Business Owner and Board of Trustees Member Erin Black has been on the BOT since 2014. Being an alumni of CWU, Black said that she is aware of the changing necessities and resources at the university and is really excited to be participating in these discussions.

With each retreat Black has been to, she feels she has become more cooperative and interactive with the board and is glad that this continuity has helped her to become the member she is today.

“I think that we can never underestimate the importance of talking about the future of any organization. The students are really the center of why we do what we do, so if we want to continue to be a top-notch higher education organization,” Black said.

Black added that some of the most cherishable work that she was able to do with the board this year at the retreat was the redesign of the general education frameworks of Central. She said she enjoyed immensely engaging and speaking openly about what would improve the program.