Archive for Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Campus bracing for cuts

Officials expect painful changes as $15M gets slashed from KU budget

The Kansas board of regents is asking KU to cut $15 million from its spending plan in the next year.

July 23, 2008


Ask a Kansas University student how he hopes an estimated $14.7 million budget cut would affect him and the answer is simple.

"I hope it doesn't," said Lenexa junior Brian Havens.

After a Monday evening announcement that the state was asking Kansas universities to cut up to 7 percent of their budgets over the next two years, it quickly became clear that changes are ahead for KU.

Provost Richard Lariviere asked university leadership to take a second look at their budgets to make room for a 2 percent cut from this year's budget and a proposed 5 percent cut next year.

For KU, this means a $5.5 million cut this year and an estimated $9.2 million for next year. Each school is expected to deliver its recommendations to Lariviere, who will present them to the Board of Regents at an Aug. 19 retreat in Wichita.

Havens, who learned of the budget cuts Tuesday morning, said he would hate to see anything take a hit.

"As a nation, we don't really value education enough," he said. "So why cut it more?"

University faculty are also bracing for a month of marathon meetings and painful trimming sessions.

John Gronbeck-Tedesco, interim dean of the School of Fine Arts, said he gathered a large part of his staff Tuesday morning to evaluate each budget item.

Gronbeck-Tedesco said it was too early to say what services or areas might be cut, but added that nothing was safe.

"We're looking at anything and everything," he said. "We're hoping that things will arise rather quickly as being more crucial and less possible to cut."

Joseph Heppert, professor of chemistry and chairman of the chemistry department, which falls under the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has also been asked to consider what can be trimmed.

Lariviere asked the schools to cut entire programs and services when they could, rather than taking nips and tucks. Heppert said that puts pressure on department heads.

"It's difficult to think about cutting a program in one area without affecting all other areas," he said. "Look at when they cut back on maintenance. In some regards it affected the quality of a student's time on campus."

While some staff said they hoped the students wouldn't take a large hit, their worries were also personal. Yvonne Martinez, administrative associate in the chemistry department, said she was concerned about job security.

University officials are approaching the cuts with the knowledge that there will be some painful changes made. Lariviere said Monday evening that while he was asking the deans to leave academics and research as unchanged as possible, it was impossible to make large cuts and not have to eliminate some jobs, programs and services.

Some incoming students said they were going to wait until a clearer picture came out on the proposed cuts before getting alarmed.

Sara Batchelor, a Hutchinson junior transfer, said her concern would be the cutting of classes or programs.

"You come to a school the size of KU for the classes they offer," she said. "I can't say I would like having classes I came to KU for be cut."

Lariviere told staff members Monday that library acquisitions, student financial aid and utilities would be sheltered from cuts. Tuition is also expected to remain unaffected, he said.


SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 10 months ago

When a rich student pays a tax payer-subsidized tuition rate, how is that now welfare for the rich? Anyone?

KU_cynic 9 years, 10 months ago

This year's 2% will come very easily. Some open staff positions will simply go unfilled, and some maintenance will be deferred (adding to the huge maintenance backlog, although in small and often imperceptible ways).Next year's 5% will be a lot harder to come by. Some new faculty searches planned for this year might be canceled, but there are only so many of those and many of them are already underway.The idea that within a month or so the highly parochial and politicized KU faculty and their leaders will agree to cuts of entire programs or services seems somewhat ludicrous. Everyone sees their own respective program as a crown jewel or an underappreciated asset; some programs are and some programs really aren't.

huntershaven 9 years, 10 months ago

The truth is that with difficult economic times cuts are necessary to keep certain services and opportunities available. I believe everyone working in a public sector job understands living within their means when money is tight. The university needs to do what it needs to do so that it can continue to operate as there are only so much in taxes that can be taken from people already strapped with existing bills and taxes.

oldvet 9 years, 10 months ago

Let's pretend it is a business and look at some cuts...NO raises to come from the University general funds, none, zero, zip, nadda... want more money, get a grant...Cancel all open reqs, no hiring except to replace a current person on the payroll as of 7/1/08 who then leaves the University payroll.Ticket all vehicles, including bicycles, who do not obey traffic and parking laws. Require any vehicle parked on University property to have a University-issued sticker, at risk of ticketing, towing or confiscation.Cut travel by 75%. Each dept can decide how to spend their remaining 25%, but nothing beyond that.Evaluate phone use and eliminate any University-paid cell phones and reimbursement of private cell phone bills.Evaluate the use of University vehicles with a goal of reducing vehicles by a minimum of 25%...Bring me on as an non-salaried consultant who will receive 10% of all other savings I recommend... I guarantee I will make a nice income...

sarahsmilehawk 9 years, 10 months ago

KU Athletics makes its own money. If the chemistry department can find a way to bring in millions, it could rest easy too. I have a feeling student fees will just get higher and higher to pay for stupid things like bailing the T out.

penguin 9 years, 10 months ago

I really enjoy how everyone wants to go after KUAC (KU Athletic Corp) because they are this evil separate entity. Hey guess what! so are the unions (Memorial Corp). It is the way business is doneAlso I am surprised that everyone wants to go after KUAC and not KU Endowment. They have over a billion dollars! I am sure there is room in their to find the extra money to cover the 5%. However, that will never be done. Every Regents school was asked to make the same cuts. I have not seen stories from any of the other schools, but FHSU. However, this one sheds some light on how you might want to plan for a rainy day if you are a university leader.

penguin 9 years, 10 months ago

Well just wait for all that gambling revenue to roll in ...then we can fund all education...or so I keep hearing.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 9 years, 10 months ago

"When the student athletes are given scholarships, who is actually paying for their classes, books, etc. Funds from the athletic dept? Who is paying their rents? The athletic dept?"Yes. The Athletics Departments pays the education expenses, room and board of student athletes who are there on scholarship. They also pay the university for the upkeep, maintenance and utilities of the athletic facilities.This is common practice among most universities.

fu7il3 9 years, 10 months ago

"The truth is that with difficult economic times cuts are necessary to keep certain services and opportunities available. I believe everyone working in a public sector job understands living within their means when money is tight. The university needs to do what it needs to do so that it can continue to operate as there are only so much in taxes that can be taken from people already strapped with existing bills and taxes."True enough. On the other hand, KU is the largest employer in Lawrence, definately one of the few employers that has jobs that pay well enough to live in Lawrence on. Cuts to KU means loss of jobs in Lawrence, and further economic problems at a city level.So, what would you like them to cut?

gccs14r 9 years, 10 months ago

What's in the State budget that could be cut instead of education? Cutting education when it's already underfunded seems shortsighted.

em1 9 years, 10 months ago

This is obscene. I can't for a minute read about the multi-million dollar improvements being made to our athletics facilities, and at the same time see that the campus is "bracing for cuts" I just wish this article would have come out in September when all the students were back. Given the timing of this article, this very blatent example of fiscal irresponsibility we've come to know and love at KU will largely go unnoticed. Here's something to think about. In 2007 $48.7 million dollars went to the athletics department, while $25.6 million went to student services, and $20 million went to scholarships. Go to the comptrollers website and verify this (It's all public record). It's also interesting to note that there is a "seperate" Kansas Althletics Inc, they actually held only 7.8 million in their own assets in 2007; so 48 million operating the math. So, while the university asks its academic departments to cut back every area possible and puts the quality of education at risk, Mangino gets some nice TVs to look behind the scenes at the stadium. Way to go Lew!Anyone else find it amusing that someone who really needs to lose weight has been given the ability to never have to get up and walk around his office or even the complex?

janeyb 9 years, 10 months ago

The new football complex just came up 8 million dollars short. Tom Kivisto had pledged 12 million to the complex and has only paid 4 million. He has been removed as CEO of his company and has essentially lost everything playing with hedge funds in oil futures. The company is filing for bankruptcy and Kiviston personally owes the company 290 million. Lew is going to have to start beating the bushes for some bucks.

gccs14r 9 years, 10 months ago

Here's the story about the missing $8 million (conspicuously absent from the LJW): Lew going to beat the bushes, or is he going to try to squeeze it out of KU in the midst of a budget crunch?

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