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University plans budget adjustment on Lawrence campus

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will enact a budget adjustment on the Lawrence campus to address fiscal constraints and cut costs for fiscal year 2019.

The adjustment entails a 5.87 percent across-the-board budget reduction for all Lawrence campus departments and units, including central administration. The reduction will be implemented beginning July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

“The map to move us forward readjusts our budget to meet our obligations and helps us put our students, staff and faculty first,” said Carl Lejuez, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “This includes a commitment to keep tuition increases as low as possible and to enact a plan for getting back to annual merit raises, even if small at first.”

Lejuez has already met with deans and vice provosts to discuss how they can manage budget reductions to their respective units in a way that best preserves their mission and core functions. 

The need to recalibrate the university’s budget is the result of many long-term commitments and investments that each year have exceeded revenue, combined with institutional budgeting practices inconsistent with the current challenges of higher education funding, as well as a decade-long trend of state funding declines.

“Staying the current course is not an option,” Lejuez said. “If we make no changes in the coming year, we will have overspent our budget with no remaining balances to support this overspending, and operations will be short a minimum of $50 million within five years. Additionally, spreading the cut over several years is not an option. This tactic costs us more financially; perpetuates a climate of uncertainty about job security, raises and tuition costs; and keeps us in a constant state of want and need rather than advancing us toward a position of stability that we all deserve.”

The Office of the Provost has already begun developing a longer-term plan that includes the development of a new budget model.

“We believe these measures, combined with existing positives — including partial budget restorations from the Kansas Legislature and stable enrollments at a time when many other universities have seen decreases — will lead to quick recovery and sustainability moving forward,” Lejuez said.

The across-the-board reduction will trim $20 million from the Lawrence campus budget.

“I have spent a great deal of time with Provost Lejuez and other KU leaders evaluating our budget and projecting our needs and goals for the coming years,” said Chancellor Douglas A. Girod. “This year’s budget reduction will be difficult, but combined with a new budget model, this is the right strategy to address our challenges and put us in a position to fully align our resources with our core mission. I applaud Provost Lejuez and his team for their vision and leadership, and I am confident KU will be a stronger university for having gone through this process.”

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