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Archive for Saturday, September 21, 2002

KU announces more job cuts

September 21, 2002

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Budget cuts have forced an additional 13 layoffs and the elimination of 38 vacant positions at Kansas University, officials said Friday.

Staff leaders said the cuts would further harm student services and the attitudes of KU employees.

"I have been with the state for 28 years. I think I'm a pretty fair barometer of staff morale," said Kathy Jansen, president of Classified Senate, the governance group representing most nonteaching staff. "I've never seen staff morale as low as it is right now."

The new layoffs are in response to budget cuts ordered in August by Gov. Bill Graves. That announcement reduced KU's budget by $1.2 million, or 1 percent. The latest layoffs include eight classified employees: two security officers, a maintenance repairman, a microcomputer technician and four administrative assistants or specialists.

Five unclassified employees  three administrative support workers, a software application consultant and a research assistant  also will be laid off.

Last month, David Shulenburger, provost and executive vice chancellor, directed deans and department heads to submit a proposal for dealing with the budget cuts.

In June, KU announced 22 people would be laid off and 32 vacant positions eliminated because of a $7.4 million, or 3 percent, shortfall in state funding compared with last year. All but two of the 10 classified employees who were laid off were relocated to other campus jobs.

"Cutting staff positions and operating expenses to meet the 4 percent budget reduction so far this year has been painful," Shulenburger said.

Shulenburger noted that no teaching faculty had been affected in the new round of cuts.

The layoffs are effective June 30, 2003. But Lynn Bretz, a university spokeswoman, said the layoffs probably would save money this fiscal year because some of the staff members will leave for other jobs before that date.

Bretz said KU officials already were planning for another round of cuts in December or January if state revenues continue to fall below estimates. More layoffs would be likely then, she said.

"It's going to get tougher the further down the road to cut operating costs or equipment costs," she said. "We're going to have to look at personnel."

Thelma Simons, president of KU's Unclassified and Professional Staff Assn., said she feared students now would begin seeing the effects of budget cuts.

"I realize KU administrators are being forced to make really tough decisions because of the growing issues with the state budget," she said. "It's very unfortunate the cuts are eroding the amount of services we can provide for students."

Jansen said a lack of job opportunities elsewhere kept many KU employees from leaving.

"There's nowhere else to go," she said. "That's the only reason you haven't seen wholesale resignations."

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