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Archive for Saturday, April 6, 2002

Med Center begins notifying workers of layoffs

April 6, 2002

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— Kansas University Medical Center officials this week began notifying employees of layoffs in response to expected state budget cuts.

Eleven full-time, unclassified staff members were told their positions would be eliminated as of June 30. Another 10 vacant unclassified positions also will be eliminated.

The notifications are the first round of staff cuts that eventually will lead to elimination of about 90 full-time positions, including up to 20 faculty positions, said Kevin Boat-right, KU's associate vice chancellor for university relations.

"It's only partial at this point," Boatright said. "There will be more letters coming."

The cuts are based on the budget Gov. Bill Graves initially sent to the Legislature. Graves' proposal cut the Medical Center's budget by $6 million, or about 6 percent. The state is facing a $700 million budget shortfall.

The 90 positions represent about 3 percent of the Med Center's 2,907 employees.

Of the 21 position cuts identified so far, one is a faculty member. That professor taught in a physical therapy outreach program in Pittsburg, which would be eliminated in the budget cuts.

The next round of layoff notices for classified staff will be distributed next week, Boatright said.

He said the number of notices still was being determined.

"About the only certain thing we have is these 11 letters that went out," he said.

KU's Lawrence campus also is facing staff reductions. Chancellor Robert Hemenway told a Senate committee last month that up to 175 faculty and staff positions could be eliminated on the university's main campus.

Boatright said differences in staff policy handbooks required more notice for Med Center staff when positions won't be renewed.

He said KU officials remained hopeful the Legislature would restore higher education funding. But even if that happened, he said, the announced cuts likely would remain.

"We don't anticipate those positions will be saved," he said.

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