- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2002

RICHMOND State agencies have proposed budget cuts that include eliminating a Standards of Learning test, laying off college faculty and increasing fees at state parks.
The proposed reductions substantiate the warning by Gov. Mark R. Warner that Virginians will have to make do with significantly fewer services for the next 2 years as the state struggles to plug a projected $3.8 billion hole.
Mr. Warner told agencies to submit plans to shrink spending 3 percent this fiscal year, 7 percent in the fiscal year beginning July 1 and 8 percent in the following year.
The governor has estimated that about 2,100 state jobs would have to be cut by mid-2003, largely through attrition, but about 700 persons would be laid off. The state has about 100,000 employees.
The proposed cuts released Wednesday are subject to change by the governor.
"None of these has been evaluated by the administration," said Deputy Press Secretary Kevin Hall. "There are certainly items in there we would resist."
The Department of Education suggested dropping the SOL test in computer technology given to fifth- and eighth-graders because it's not required for graduation and is not part of the core curriculum. The change would save $50,000 a year. The tests would not be dropped this school year, said Charles Pyle, a department spokesman.
At colleges, tuition could rise sharply while class sizes also grow as faculty is cut. Some students could need more time to get all the courses they need for their degrees.
Virginia Tech anticipates cutting 175 positions, at a savings of $10 million, "through attrition, retirements, layoffs and not filling vacant positions."
Old Dominion University's biggest proposed chunk of savings, $2.1 million, would come from eliminating 29 vacant full-time teaching positions.
The College of William & Mary would cut up to 13 full-time professors; George Mason University, 49 jobs. Virginia Commonwealth University might slash 141 faculty and staff members.
Several universities plan to cut back on part-time instructors. As a result, James Madison University expects to offer 600 fewer class sections.
Virginia Military Institute proposes boosting tuition for in-state and out-of-state cadets by 5 percent in each of the next two years.
GMU proposed raising tuition for out-of-state graduate and law students by 10 percent.
The recommendations also include increased fees for using state parks and obtaining vital records. Education programs for inmates and subsidies to nursing homes for vaccines would be reduced. State police would have to wait longer to get new patrol cars.
The state plans to scale back its film office in Los Angeles, as well as its trade-development efforts in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Virginia would end its participation in a professional golf tournament.
Mr. Warner, a Democrat, and the Republican leaders of the General Assembly already have informally agreed to eliminate raises for the state work force and freeze car-tax relief at its current 70 percent rollback.
The Senate Finance and House of Delegates Appropriations committees meet Sunday to release their budget recommendations.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide