Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2010

KU details how it made nearly $34 million in budget cuts

Viewed through the front arches of Spooner Hall is Dyche Hall, right of center. At left, in the distance, is Danforth Chapel and Fraser Hall.

Viewed through the front arches of Spooner Hall is Dyche Hall, right of center. At left, in the distance, is Danforth Chapel and Fraser Hall.

March 11, 2010


KU Budget Cuts

A look at how Kansas University has distributed more than $33 million in budget reductions.

Area - Positions Cut - Funding Cut

Provost areas 9 $2,641,863

Edwards Campus 0 $58,721

International Programs 0 $1,074,084

Architecture, Design & Planning 4 $395,587

School of Business 4 $921,647

School of Education 2 $699,632

School of Engineering 10 $1,093,781

School of Music 0 $368,452

Journalism/Mass Communications 3 $235,477

School of Law 2 $593,248

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences 27 $5,374,353

School of Pharmacy 5 $507,134

School of Social Welfare 2 $250,419

Research and Graduate Studies 23 $1,922,606

Student Success 15 $849,789

Finance 5 $306,003

Facilities Planning & Management 37 $1,352,463

Chancellor’s areas, including University Communications 1 $620,313

School of Medicine 61 $5,845,765

School of Medicine-Wichita 7 $4,138,654

School of Nursing 11 $549,887

School of Allied Health 9 $657,017

KU Medical Center Non-Academic Support Units 48 $3,362,298

Totals 285 $33,819,193

Distributing $33.8 million in budget cuts at Kansas University hasn’t been easy, and university administrators say the cuts have had wide-ranging effects.

KU has seen the elimination of 285 jobs since the state budget cuts started being handed down in July 2008 — 100 of those posts were already filled, with the remainder coming from not filling open positions.

“This puts us in a place where we will start fiscal year 2011 with our year in balance,” said Theresa Gordzica, KU’s chief financial officer.

The university hasn’t had to lay off any faculty members, but 85 of the 285 eliminated jobs were faculty posts vacated by those leaving KU or retiring.

“It’s painful for everybody,” said Greg Simpson, KU’s interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, which has seen a loss of nearly $5.4 million. “But I think they recognize that every institution is having these problems. They’re not being singled out.”

Gordzica said that administrators handed down percentage cuts to deans and other leaders, who chose how to best allot them for their school or area.

She said university administrators did offer a few guidelines:

• Schools weren’t allowed to shift costs out of their unit to somewhere else.

• Leaders were asked to look at all areas and protect areas of strength and excellence.

• Across-the-board cuts to all departments and programs were highly discouraged.

Also, she said, there were some expectations of looking to the future.

“Let’s take an eye toward where we want to be so we can come out of this as strong as possible,” Gordzica said. For example, Simpson said he was able to shelter two newly created centers from cuts — the Center for Global and International Studies and the Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis. Those are both called for in the college’s strategic plan as areas of need for the future.

KU used about $7.1 million in tuition funds to offset some of the state budget reductions, Gordzica said.

The cuts go beyond personnel. KU has eliminated its Learning Communities Office, which served 435 students in fall 2008, helping them stay in school. Most of the other cuts are not so dramatic, Gordzica said, and involve everything from increased efficiencies, cuts to office supply budgets and less money for travel for professors to attend conferences.

Course sizes are larger and classes are being offered less often. In the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences alone, KU offered 75 fewer courses in fall 2009 than the year before.

Only two significant university-wide areas have avoided cuts so far, Gordzica said — the university’s utilities budget and library system, which has played a role in bringing in outside dollars from research grants.

Things are worse at KU Medical Center, where the school has had to absorb similar cuts in state funding to the Lawrence campus, though it serves far fewer students, leaving it less able to recoup losses through tuition. In all, 136 of the job losses have come from KUMC, with many more positions being shifted to other sources of revenue there, including research or clinical dollars.


LogicMan 8 years, 3 months ago

"as their wars wear on"

So true. But fortunately one war is successfully winding down, and it was the biggest of them.

davidsmom 8 years, 3 months ago

I work in higher ed and read the Chronicle of Higher Education every day. Dramatic budget cuts are affecting all institutions - large, small, public, private...even the wealthy Ivies.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 3 months ago

consumer1, are you sure that $40 million gift has actually occurred?

WilburM 8 years, 3 months ago

Never happened, nor will, I'll bet, the Gridiron Club. Big banner on the stadium; no construction.

pfeifer 8 years, 3 months ago

That was given for academics specifically so I think it's going to scholarships and such. It wasn't given to the university to use at their discretion.

Richard Payton 8 years, 3 months ago

Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS is expanding their orthopedic department on Olathe Street. This should bring in more revenue once built but how are they paying for the construction cost if KU is broke?

ahyland 8 years, 3 months ago

consumer1 and others,

Kansas Atheltics, Inc., has pledged $40 million for KU's academic programs. That will be paid using revenue from the Gridiron Club addition to Memorial Stadium, and hasn't yet been delivered. KU Athletics first needs to raise about $34 million for the construction of the addition, and, at last check, they were still far short of that total.

Andy Hyland KU Reporter

ahyland 8 years, 3 months ago


That is "KU Hospital" that is expanding its orthopedic department. It is the affiliated hospital tied to KU Medical Center. The hospital's revenue comes from traditional hospital sources, like treating patients, offering tests, etc. It is not having budgetary problems, and is — as you point out — expanding with planned new buildings.

"KU Medical Center" refers not to the hospital, but to the research/academic arm of the operation in Kansas City, Kan. It includes the KU School of Medicine, KU School of Allied Health and KU School of Nursing, etc. As I mentioned in the article, its budget situation is getting (and has been for some time now) quite dreary indeed.

Andy Hyland KU Reporter

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