Bracing for a loss in state funding and tuition dollars, University of Missouri System campuses this week are announcing some broad budget cuts.
For the University of Missouri’s Columbia campus, the cuts will be the largest in recent memory, officials said. MU has decided to slash 12 percent of its budget from all schools, colleges and divisions on campus in fiscal year 2018.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City isn’t looking to cut as deep, but rather going for a 3 percent reduction from each school, college and division.
MU officials said the cuts are to deal with revenue loss because of state funding reductions and enrollment declines on the Columbia campus.
A UMKC email from administrators said the university isn’t certain “exactly how much funding UMKC and the UM System will receive from the state.” It is signed by Chancellor Leo Morton, Provost Barbara A. Bichelmeyer and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Sharon Lindenbaum.
The email also said the university’s anticipated revenue reduction is based on recent and past governmental action.
“Last week, the Missouri Legislature passed a budget with a 6.58 percent decrease in core funding for universities statewide. That’s after a 7.6 percent withholding announced by the governor in January 2017,” the email said.
“We still have unknowns including tuition and enrollment for FY 2018, so we’re working from best projections.”
Absent precise revenue numbers, UMKC officials said they’ve asked department heads to build a projected budget based on the current year’s numbers minus the 3 percent.
The cuts will mean a staff reduction.
“The campus plans to achieve significant savings through attrition,” UMKC’s notice said. “Some positions will remain unfilled. Others will stay open for at least 60 days to accrue savings.”
Officials anticipate “a small number of layoffs,” described in the email as “fewer than 30 people across campus.”
UMKC leaders determined it will take more than one fiscal year to adjust to such sizable decreases in funding. This week’s email reminds department heads to “address these matters strategically, rather than simply cutting for cutting’s sake.”
MU officials have given out the same instruction, asking departments to “identify the priority and critical needs of each unit and then make the appropriate budget reductions,” said Christian Basi, MU spokesman.
MU Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes, in outlining the cuts — amounting to roughly $55 million — noted personnel losses and the reallocation of certain programs but did not say which departments or programs specifically stood to face the most cuts.
Last month, anticipating financial woes for the university, MU’s division of operations announced it would be eliminating about 25 administrative-level jobs effective July 1.
Stokes said she won’t provide more specifics on the cuts to protect personnel. Final details won’t be shared until after June 1.
Until then, MU will hold two forums next week for feedback. UMKC leaders will continue campus discussions about the budget with its faculty and staff leaders between now and May 19, when the budget goes to UM System President Mun Choi.