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KU Announces More Than $1 Million in Targeted Spending Cuts

Photo by J Schafer

Leaders at the University of Kansas announced more than $1 million in targeted spending reductions Wednesday. That’s in response to Governor Sam Brownback trimming KU’s total state funding more than $10 million this fiscal year to help balance the state budget.

The state funding cut to the main campus is $7 million. KU Provost Neeli Bendapudi says officials are using targeted budget reductions to try to avoid layoffs and minimize the impact on students.

“It’s obviously not an easy thing to do, but we tried to look at everything that we could do to keep the core academic function of the university as protected as possible,” says Bendapudi.

KU’s targeted spending reductions include $300,000 cuts for International Programs and the Kansas Geological Survey.  

Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas Audio-Reader Network will each take a $100,000 cut.

That’s about 20 percent of the funding KPR gets from KU. University support made up around one quarter of KPR’s $2.1 million budget last fiscal year.

The budget trimming will cost Audio-Reader around 20 percent of the money it receives from KU. Audio-Reader is service where volunteers read books and magazines on over-the-air broadcasts aimed at people who are blind or visually impaired. Support from the university made up more than 70 percent of Audio-Reader's $760,000 budget last fiscal year.

Bendapudi says some areas that were targeted for cuts have the ability to raise money through fundraising or fees.

“That’s what we had to do to protect areas where there’s just no possibility of securing any external funds,” says Bendapudi.

Job cuts at KU can’t be totally ruled out, although Bendapudi says none are planned. She says to save money they'll also be leaving unfilled positions open, which will impact some services.

“None of these were positions that were nice to have. We needed all of these positions,” says Bendapudi. “Protecting the people that were already here is a priority for us, so we’re just having to figure out a way to make do without filling positions.”

KU will save $400,000 by cutting back a program aimed at hiring faculty with specialized experience in specific fields. Three of the five unfilled positions in the faculty cluster hire program will be eliminated.

The university will also cut the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute by $70,000.

Less than half of all the cuts needed will be made through centralized and targeted trimming. The remaining $3.8 million will come from areas including the academic and administrative units, although those reductions have not yet been finalized.

Governor Brownback cut higher education $30 million in May as he slashed spending to balance the state budget.

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(NEWSCAST VERSION)

The University of Kansas has announced more than $1 million in targeted spending cuts. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the budget trimming is in response to a $7 million drop in state funding for the main Lawrence campus.


KU Provost Neeli Bendapudi says they’re trying to trim spending while protecting core academic functions. International programs and the Kansas Geological Survey will each take $300,000 spending cuts. Kansas Public Radio and Audio-Reader will each be cut $100,000.

Bendapudi says they will also be leaving open positions unfilled.

“None of these were positions that were nice to have. We needed all of these positions,” says Bendapudi. “Protecting the people that were already here is a priority for us, so we’re just having to figure out a way to make do without filling positions.”
 
There will also be funding cuts for administrative and academic units, but those have not yet been finalized.

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