CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Board of Regents on Tuesday ordered state colleges and universities to close for one week and furlough all employees for five days in an effort to save $10 million as ordered by the governor.
The regents also canceled summer school classes until after the July 1 start of the new fiscal year and told school presidents to defer all non-emergency maintenance, equipment purchases and travel.
"I've been on the board almost six years and as far as higher education is concerned this has been the darkest of all days," Board of Regents President William Watson said. "There was nothing else we could do."
Reduced Tax Revenue
Gov. Arch A. Moore Jr. last week ordered all state agencies to reduce spending by 20% through June 30 because tax income is $63 million behind estimates on which the state budget is based.
The Highways Department and other agencies not funded directly from the state's general treasury are exempt from the order. All others, including the state Supreme Court and the Legislature, have been asked to comply.
Because the spring semester ends in mid-May at all 16 state-supported colleges and universities, the Board of Regents was unable to spread its cuts over the next three months and was forced to take drastic action immediately, Watson said.
Announce No Dates
No specific dates for the school closings were announced.
The employee furloughs will save about $6 million, Watson said, while calling off the first of two summer school sessions will save about $2 million. Other cuts, including a decision by regents to forgo their own pay for the remainder of the year, will make up the balance, he said.