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CUNY seeks ways to soften cuts’ blow

Queens' two four-year City University of New York schools may be forced to scale back plans to add more full-time professors, but CUNY administrators said the impact of $51 million in cuts from Gov. David Paterson's latest budget agreement will be lessened by economic measures.

"We have been able to utilize one-time resources and alternative ways of financing equipment replacement to substantially offset nearly two-thirds of the new budgetary reductions," CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said in a statement. "Thus, the impact on the CUNY senior colleges has been reduced to $18.6 million."

CUNY's community colleges, like LaGuardia in Long Island City and Queensborough in Bayside, will not be affected by the cuts, he said.

Measures being taken include not hiring replacements for departing administrators and reducing the lump-sum appropriations that help insulate colleges' operating budgets.

For the borough's two senior colleges, Queens and York, the cuts may mean reductions to the "CUNY Compact" program, which allocates state and private funding to individual colleges for specific priorities.

"For York, we were to receive the full compact $3.2 million in additional funding for the year that we're in," said Jerry Posman, York's chief administrative officer. "Clearly we're not going to get that amount. Hopefully, we're going to get something. We just don't know how much."

The money will be used to hire more full-time faculty members, Posman said.

Queens College directed all questions to CUNY's central communications office.

Posman said the cuts may be lessened by tuition payments from a larger number of students.

"If the enrollments are high, there might be a significant amount of revenues," he said.

But CUNY schools might not be out of the woods yet.

Paterson indicated further budgetary belt-tightening could be necessary.

"The looming deficit we face next year will demand even more difficult choices," Paterson said in a prepared statement. "And given the significant, continued uncertainty within the economy, there are no guarantees that we can avoid additional current-year spending reductions if revenues plummet even further."

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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