KU chancellor ‘disappointed and concerned’ about Gov. Laura Kelly’s proposed budget
photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World File Photo
University of Kansas chancellor Douglas Girod is concerned that proposed cuts to state funding for higher education could cause “irreparable harm” to the university, he wrote in a campus message Tuesday.
Girod wrote that Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget recommendations include a 5.3% cut to KU’s base appropriation. If those recommendations were approved by the Legislature, Girod wrote, the university’s state funding would fall by $13.6 million — $7.6 million at the Lawrence campus and $6 million at the medical center. As a percentage, Girod wrote, it would be the largest cut to KU since 2010, and as a dollar amount it would be the largest cut in KU history.
Also, Girod wrote that he was disappointed that the governor did not propose salary increases for university employees like she did for other state agency employees. Rather, she recommended that $10.4 million be given to the Kansas Board of Regents to be used at the board’s discretion.
“We are disappointed and concerned by the Governor’s proposed budget and its singling out of higher education,” Girod wrote. He added that KU was already facing a projected shortfall of $74.6 million because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the financial circumstances would require KU to eliminate programs and departments, reduce services and implement furloughs and layoffs “on a large scale.”
“A reduction in state funding would necessitate these measures be even more drastic, causing irreparable harm to KU and further diminishing our ability to serve Kansans,” he wrote.
Kelly’s budget recommendations are only a proposal, and Girod said KU would continue working with the Legislature as the budget process moved forward.