President James Gaudino reported that by the end of next year, the Responsibility-Centered Management (RCM) budget model will turn a profit.
According to Vice President of Business and Academic Affairs Joel Klucking, the collective colleges are projected to be under budget by around $1.5 million by the end of the year. The presentation also stated that with the addition of local funds being under, colleges should expect a $3.6 million carryover for next year.
RCM was implemented as CWU’s new budgeting model last Summer. The model distributes funds at the college level rather than the department level.
The model was met with disagreement by the faculty in a survey last spring before its implementation. In the survey, which surveyed over 200 faculty, a majority of faculty expressed concerns with the discussion, implementation process and transparency of the transition.
All the colleges are currently projected to come in at the end of the year under budget. The College of Arts and Humanities, and College of Business are projected to be under budget by around $50,000 while the College of Education and Professional Studies, and College of the Sciences are projected to be under budget by around $240,000.
This means that, collectively, the colleges could come in under at around $596,000. Klucking also said that about $150,000 of the academic support is projected to go back into funding next year.
At the beginning of the meeting, Gaudino laid out the reason for the continuation of the budget town hall meetings, citing a broader image than just sustainability. He said that decreasing amount of allocated state and federal funds has justified the new “business-like” model.
“There is not a one size fits all. What works for the University of Illinois doesn’t necessarily work for Harvard, it doesn’t necessarily work at Central Washington University,” Gaudino said. “We need to modify, over time, activity-based budgeting and RCM to fit the specifics of CWU.”
Gaudino said that there wasn’t enough money on the federal government to fund higher education anymore.
“It’s not the picture that it was 10 years ago,” Gaudino said. “The willingness of both the federal government and the state government to fund higher education may not have diminished, but their ability has absolutely diminished. It’s just not there anymore.”
Gaudino also acknowledged the immaturity of the budgeting model and said that it will take two or three years to have the budget properly adjusted to the specificities CWU needs.
“Someone asked me what the bumper sticker would be. If I were to make a bumper sticker, it would be ‘innovate or die,’” Gaudino said. “That’s really what it boils down to. We have to innovate or we do not have a sustainable model.”
Klucking also gave an update on the fiscal year budget. He said that they were on schedule to get approval from the Budget Executive Committee in March and then get it approved by May.
“I don’t want to just sustain the university, I want to improve the university. I mean, none of us want to just sit here and nothing ever gets better in our lives. We want everything to be on an upward slope,” Gaudino said.